Can you name the Ireland starting XI that last won a playoff game under Mick McCarthy?
In November 2001, the Republic of Ireland faced Iran in a World Cup playoff and emerged victorious to secure qualification for the World Cup and end an eight-year wait to play at a major tournament again.
McCarthy’s side had faltered at the playoff stage for the two previous tournaments.
Belgium advanced past Ireland in a playoff for the 1998 World Cup and the Boys in Green missed out on Euro 2000 after losing a playoff to Turkey.
However, thanks largely to the brilliance of Roy Keane, Ireland made it third-time lucky under McCarthy in 2001.
Keane was Ireland’s standout player in the qualification campaign, producing arguably his greatest series of performances.
The Manchester United captain was immense, the glue that held together a team containing experienced senior pros and excellent up and coming players.
Ireland beat Iran 2-0 at Lansdowne Road before losing 1-0 without Keane a few days later in Tehran.
But they did enough in the first-leg to reach the finals in Japan and South Korea.
Can you name the Ireland starting XI from the first-leg win over Iran?
It was the only one of McCarthy’s six playoff games that the Boys in Green managed to win.
You have five minutes to try to name the Ireland starting XI from the 2-0 win over Iran in the first leg of the 2002 World Cup playoff.
Good luck, and let us know how you do.
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(Originally published on March 16, 2020).