Northern Ireland National Football Team
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Northern Ireland National Football Team

Northern Ireland
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Green and White Army,
Norn Iron
AssociationIrish Football Association
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachMichael O'Neill
CaptainSteven Davis
Most capsPat Jennings (119)
Top scorerDavid Healy (36)
Home stadiumWindsor Park
FIFA codeNIR
FIFA ranking
Current 34 Decrease 1 (24 October 2019)[1]
Highest20 (September 2017)
Lowest129 (September 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 45 Increase 6 (18 October 2019)[2]
Highest5 or 14 (1882 or May 1986)
Lowest114 (11 October 2013)
First international
 Ireland 0-13 England 
(Belfast; 18 February 1882)
Biggest win
 Northern Ireland 7-0 Wales 
(Belfast; 1 February 1930)
Biggest defeat
 Ireland 0-13 England 
(Belfast; 18 February 1882)
World Cup
Appearances3 (first in 1958)
Best resultQuarter-finals, 1958
European Championship
Appearances1 (first in 2016)
Best resultRound of 16, 2016

The Northern Ireland national football team represents Northern Ireland in international association football. From 1882 to 1920, all of Ireland was represented by a single side, the Ireland national football team, organised by the Irish Football Association (IFA). In 1921, the jurisdiction of the IFA was reduced to Northern Ireland following the secession of clubs in the soon-to-be Irish Free State, although its team remained the national team for all of Ireland until 1950, and used the name Ireland until the 1970s.[3][n 1] The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) organises the separate Republic of Ireland national football team.

Although part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland has always had a representative side that plays in major professional tournaments - whether alongside the rest of Ireland pre-1922 or as its own entity - though not in the Olympic Games, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has always recognised United Kingdom representative sides.

Northern Ireland has competed in three FIFA World Cups, reaching the quarter-final stage in the 1958 and 1982 tournaments. At UEFA Euro 2016, the team made its first appearance at the European tournament and reached the second round.

History

On 18 February 1882, 15 months after the founding of the Irish FA, Ireland made their international debut against England, losing 13-0 in a friendly played at Bloomfield in Belfast. This remains the record defeat for the team, and also England's largest winning margin. On 25 February 1882, Ireland played their second international, against Wales at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, and an equaliser from Johnston became Ireland's first ever goal.

In 1884, Ireland competed in the inaugural British Home Championship and lost all three games. Ireland did not win their first game until 19 February 1887, a 4-1 win over Wales in Belfast. Between their debut and this game, they had a run of 14 defeats and 1 draw, the longest run without a win in the 1800s. Despite the end of this run, heavy defeats continued. On 3 March 1888, they lost 11-0 to Wales and three weeks later, on 24 March, lost 10-2 to Scotland. Further heavy defeats came on 15 March 1890 when they lost 9-1 to England, on 18 February 1899 when they lost 13-2 to England and on 2 February 1901 when they lost 11-0 to Scotland.

In 1899, the Irish FA also changed its rules governing the selection of non-resident players. Before then the Ireland team selected its players exclusively from the Irish League, in particular the three Belfast-based clubs Linfield, Cliftonville and Distillery. On 4 March 1899, for the match against Wales, McAteer included four Irish players based in England. The change in policy produced dividends as Ireland won 1-0. Three weeks later, on 25 March, one of these four players, Archie Goodall, aged 34 years and 279 days, became the oldest player to score in international football during the 19th century when he scored Ireland's goal in a 9-1 defeat to Scotland.

In 1920, Ireland was partitioned into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. In 1922, Southern Ireland gained independence as the Irish Free State, later to become a republic under the name of Ireland. Amid these political upheavals, a rival football association, the Football Association of Ireland, emerged in Dublin in 1921 and organised a separate league and international team. In 1923, at a time when the home nations had withdrawn from FIFA, the FAI was recognised by FIFA as the governing body of the Irish Free State on the condition that it changed its name to the Football Association of the Irish Free State. The Irish FA continued to organise its national team on an all-Ireland basis.

Between 1928 and 1946, the IFA were not affiliated to FIFA and the two Ireland teams co-existed, never competing in the same competition. On 8 March 1950, however, in a 0-0 draw with Wales at the Racecourse Ground in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, the IFA fielded a team that included four players who were born in the Irish Free State. All four players had previously played for the FAI in their qualifiers and as a result had played for two different associations in the same FIFA World Cup tournament.

After complaints from the FAI, FIFA intervened and restricted players' eligibility based on the political border. In 1953 FIFA ruled neither team could be referred to as Ireland, decreeing that the FAI team be officially designated as the Republic of Ireland, while the IFA team was to become Northern Ireland.

Past performances

British Home Championship

Until the 1950s, the major competition for Northern Ireland/Ireland was the British Home Championship. The team had won the competition eight times, taking the title outright on three occasions. They were the last winners of the now defunct competition held in 1984, and hence still are the British champions, and the trophy remains the property of the Irish FA.

FIFA World Cup

Danny Blanchflower (left) captained Northern Ireland at the 1958 FIFA World Cup, while George Best (right), winner of the 1968 Ballon d'Or, never reached a major international tournament with the team

Northern Ireland's best World Cup performance was in their first appearance in the finals, the 1958 World Cup, where they reached the quarter-finals after beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the play-off. They were knocked out by France, losing 4-0. In the 1958 competition, Northern Ireland became the least populous country to have qualified for the World Cup, a record that stood until Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the 2006 World Cup. Northern Ireland remains, however, the least populous country to have qualified for more than one World Cup finals tournament, to win a World Cup finals match, and to have progressed from the first round of the World Cup finals.

Captain of the national side at the 1958 World Cup was Danny Blanchflower, who also captained Tottenham Hotspur in the English league and was twice footballer of the year in England. His younger brother Jackie was also a key member of the national team, and won two league titles in England with Manchester United, until his career was ended by injuries suffered in the Munich air disaster of February 1958.

Despite the presence of world class forward George Best, another Manchester United player, for the 1960s and 1970s, Northern Ireland failed to qualify for any major tournaments.

Northern Ireland also qualified for the 1982 World Cup. Their opening game was against Yugoslavia at La Romareda stadium in Zaragoza. It was the international debut of 17-year-old Norman Whiteside, who became the youngest player ever in the World Cup finals, a record that still stands. The game finished goalless. Five days later, they drew 1-1 with Honduras, which was a disappointment, and many believed had doomed Northern Ireland's chances of advancing in the competition.[7] They needed a win against hosts Spain in the third and final group game at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia. They faced a partisan atmosphere with a mostly Spanish crowd and a Spanish-speaking referee in Héctor Ortiz who was unwilling to punish dirty play from the Spanish players.[8] A mistake from Spain goalkeeper Luis Arconada, however, gifted Gerry Armstrong the only goal of the game, and despite having Mal Donaghy sent off on 60 minutes, Northern Ireland went on to record an historic 1-0 win and top the first stage group.

A 2-2 draw with Austria at the Vicente Calderón Stadium meant that a win against France would take them into the semi-finals, however a French team inspired by Michel Platini won 4-1 and eliminated Northern Ireland from the competition.

In the 1986 World Cup, they reached the first round. Billy Bingham, a member of the 1958 squad, was manager for both of these tournaments. They have not qualified for any other World Cups since.

Recent history

The Our Wee Country mural in east Belfast commemorating Northern Ireland beating England at home in 2005.

Lawrie Sanchez was appointed in January 2004 after a run of ten games without a goal under the previous manager Sammy McIlroy, which was a European record for any international team until San Marino went over 20 games without scoring between October 2008 and August 2012. That run ended after his first game in charge, a 1-4 loss to Norway in a friendly in February 2004. The run of 16 games without a win ended after his second game, a 1-0 victory in a friendly over Estonia, with a largely experimental side, in March 2004.

On 7 September 2005, Northern Ireland beat England 1-0 in a 2006 World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park. David Healy scored the winner in the 73rd minute. Almost a year later, on 6 September 2006, Northern Ireland defeated Spain 3-2 in a qualifier for UEFA Euro 2008, with Healy scoring a hat-trick. In June 2007, Nigel Worthington was named manager in the place of Lawrie Sanchez, who took over at Fulham. Initially, Worthington took over until the end of the Euro 2008 qualifiers, but was later given a contract until the end of the Euro 2012 qualifiers. Michael O'Neill became manager in February 2012 after Worthington had resigned in October 2011 after a poor Euro 2012 qualification campaign.

The Northern Ireland team qualified for its first ever UEFA European Championship, Euro 2016 in France, after beating Greece 3-1 at Windsor Park on 8 October 2015.[9] At the tournament, Northern Ireland were beaten 1-0 by Poland on 20 June 2016 followed by a 2-0 win against Ukraine on 16 June 2016 and finally a 1-0 loss against Germany in the group stage. That was enough to qualify for a Round of 16 spot where they lost 1-0 to Wales due to an unfortunate own goal by Gareth McAuley.[10]

Stadium

Windsor Park before the recent redevelopment - a view from the Kop Stand, showing the two-tiered North Stand and the low Railway stand behind the opposite goal

Northern Ireland play their home matches at Windsor Park, Belfast, home of Linfield, which they have use of on a 108-year lease, giving the owners 15% of revenue, including gate receipts and TV rights.[11]

There was a proposal to build a multisports stadium for Northern Ireland at the disused Maze prison outside Lisburn for the use of Rugby, Gaelic games and football.[12] This plan was given an "in principle" go-ahead by the Irish Football Association. However, it was opposed by fans, over 85% of whom in a match day poll conducted by the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters' Clubs ("AONISC") preferred to stay at a smaller new or redeveloped ground in the city of Belfast.[13] The AONISC organised a protest against the move to the Maze at the game against Estonia in March 2006.

The issue assumed ever greater urgency by 2007, following a series of inspections which questioned the suitability of Windsor Park to host international football.[14] Following a reduction of capacity due to the closure of the Railway Stand, the IFA made it known that they wished to terminate their contract for the use of the stadium.[15] A report on health and safety in October 2007 indicated that the South Stand might have to be closed for internationals, which would further reduce the stadium's capacity to 9,000.[16] In April 2008, Belfast City Council announced that they had commissioned Drivers Jonas to conduct a feasibility study into the building of a Sports Stadium in Belfast which could accommodate international football, which was followed at the beginning of May 2008 by speculation that the Maze Stadium project was going to be radically revised by Peter Robinson, the finance and personnel minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly, so that any construction might be used for purposes other than football, rugby union and Gaelic games. Given the time that is needed to build a new stadium, in the absence of significant work improving Windsor Park, Northern Ireland may be forced to play their home games at a venue outside Northern Ireland for a period.

In March 2009, proposals were announced for the construction of a new 25,000 seat stadium in the Sydenham area of East Belfast as an alternative to the Maze proposal. This would form part of a major development, with links to both George Best Belfast City Airport and the Bangor railway line. The development would also include a hotel, and retail/leisure areas. The stadium itself would be used for both football and rugby union, with Glentoran and Ulster Rugby intended as tenants. Ulster GAA, however, who were a partner in the Maze proposal, stated that in the event of a new stadium being built in East Belfast, which is a major [unionist] area, their preference would then be to remain at Casement Park in [nationalist] [west] Belfast.[17]

Internal view of Windsor park as the redevelopment nears completion.
The new redeveloped Windsor Park. View from the Kop (West Stand) with only the corner between the West & North stands yet to be completed.

The IFA were initially non-committal about any of the proposals for improving their facilities, be it rebuilding Windsor Park, or supporting either the Maze or Sydenham proposals. In September 2009, however, they issued an announcement in favour of the redevelopment of Windsor Park.[18] Although there were no specifics to this, Linfield had previously released a study with two proposals, of which the major one would be a £20 million rebuilding of the stadium, raising the spectator capacity to 20,000.[19] In 2011, the Northern Ireland Executive allocated £138 million for a major programme of stadium redevelopment throughout Northern Ireland, with £28 million allocated to the redevelopment of Windsor Park.[20] In June 2012, further details of the stadium's redevelopment were released. The plan was to redevelop Windsor Park into an 18,000 all-seater stadium with a series of phased works originally intended to begin in the summer of 2013. The redevelopment would include the demolition of the existing East and South Stand structures, to be replaced by new purpose built stands that would partially enclose the stadium; complete renovation of the existing North and West Stands; and construction of both new conferencing facilities and a new headquarters facility for the IFA.[21]

In February 2013, planning permission for the redevelopment was granted. The cost of the project was estimated to be around £29.2 million, of which £25.2 million would come from government funding. It was initially planned for the work to begin in September 2013.[22] Two months later however, Irish Premiership club Crusaders began legal proceedings to have the process judicially reviewed. As owners of the site, rivals Linfield were in line to receive not only a redeveloped stadium, but also £200,000 per annum from the IFA in land rent instead of the existing agreement which entitled Linfield to 15% of match revenue. Crusaders believed this to be against European Union competition law as well as a form of state aid towards Linfield.[23] In a hearing that took place on 22 May 2013, Crusaders' request was granted. It was ruled that it was a possibility for the redevelopment to be classed as state aid towards Linfield. The aspect of the challenge concerning competition law, however, was dismissed.[24]

In July 2013, Crusaders agreed to a possible settlement brought forward by the judicial review. The details of the settlement were not made public, but Crusaders said that it had the "potential to benefit the entirety of the football family".[25] In September 2013, sports minister Carál Ní Chuilín said that she was still committed to making sure the redevelopment went ahead as scheduled, after previously stating that she would not sign off on the funding until the IFA resolved "governance issues" surrounding David Martin's return to the role of deputy president.[26] In December 2013, three months after the work was originally scheduled to begin, the redevelopment was finally given the green light. The sports minister signed off on £31 million to complete the project. The redevelopment finally got under way on 6 May 2014 after the 2013-14 domestic season had finished, eight months later than originally planned. The work is due to be completed in 2015.[27]

Historic controversy over sectarianism

Former captain Neil Lennon retired from international football due to sectarian death threats

A small element of Northern Ireland's support has been, in the past, regarded as sectarian.[28][29][30]Neil Lennon, a Roman Catholic Celtic player who had been subject to sectarian abuse from Northern Ireland fans while playing for Northern Ireland in Windsor Park, was issued with a death-threat by Loyalists and retired from international football in 2002 as a result.[31]

Steps taken to eradicate the sectarian element within the support have been successful.[32] Lennon has been quick to praise these initiatives.[33] He also praised the "Football For All" Outstanding Achievement Award Winner Stewart MacAfee[34] for the work he has done to create a more inclusive atmosphere at international games.

In 2006, Northern Ireland's supporters were awarded the Brussels International Supporters Award[35] for their charity work, general good humour and behaviour and efforts to stamp out sectarianism. Representatives of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters' Clubs received the award from UEFA and EU representatives prior to the Northern Ireland-Spain game at Windsor Park in September 2006.

Steps by the IFA to promote Football For All continue. At a friendly match in Dublin in 2011 against Scotland, the IFA carried out an inquiry following an incident in which Northern Ireland fans sang sectarian songs.[36][37] One fan who was identified in the inquiry was said to be in line for a lifetime ban from receiving tickets to any future Northern Ireland home or away games.[38]

Northern Ireland Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, the first senior Sinn Féin representative to attend an international at Windsor Park, commended "the very real efforts that have been made by the IFA to tackle sectarianism at their matches" after a match in August 2011.[39]

Popular culture

The Green and White Army

The Green and White Army is the name given to the fans that follow the Northern Ireland national football team.

Since the defeat of England in 2005, there has been an increased demand for tickets exceeding supply.[40] Tongue-in-cheek songs such as "We're not Brazil, we're Northern Ireland" (sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic, an American Civil War song), "It's Just Like Watching Brazil" and "Stand up for the Ulstermen" are popular at home matches.

One of the first footballing celebrities was former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer George Best. The 1968 European Footballer of the Year, Best won 37 caps and scored 9 goals for his country.[41]

Leading up to the Euro 2016, Youtuber Sean Kennedy released the song "Will Grigg's on Fire", a parody about Northern Irish national Will Grigg to the tune of "Freed From Desire" by Gala. The song became a popular chant and internet sensation. A studio version was released by London-based production duo Blonde, going on to reach number seven in the iTunes UK Top 100.[42]

Players

Current squad

The following players were called up for the Euro 2020 qualifying games against  Netherlands on 16 November and  Germany on 19 November.[43]

Caps and goals updated as of 16 November 2019, after the match against  Netherlands.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
12 1GK Michael McGovern (1984-07-12) 12 July 1984 (age 35) 31 0 England Norwich City
1 1GK Bailey Peacock-Farrell (1996-10-29) 29 October 1996 (age 23) 13 0 England Burnley
23 1GK Trevor Carson (1988-03-05) 5 March 1988 (age 31) 5 0 Scotland Motherwell

5 2DF Jonny Evans (1988-01-03) 3 January 1988 (age 31) 84 4 England Leicester City
20 2DF Craig Cathcart (1989-02-06) 6 February 1989 (age 30) 49 2 England Watford
2 2DF Conor McLaughlin (1991-07-26) 26 July 1991 (age 28) 37 1 England Sunderland
2DF Jamal Lewis (1998-01-25) 25 January 1998 (age 21) 12 0 England Norwich City
3 2DF Michael Smith (1988-09-04) 4 September 1988 (age 31) 8 0 Scotland Heart of Midlothian
4 2DF Tom Flanagan (1991-10-21) 21 October 1991 (age 28) 4 0 England Sunderland
2DF Ciaron Brown (1998-01-14) 14 January 1998 (age 21) 1 0 Wales Cardiff City

8 3MF Steven Davis (Captain) (1985-01-01) 1 January 1985 (age 34) 116 12 Scotland Rangers
7 3MF Niall McGinn (1987-07-20) 20 July 1987 (age 32) 60 4 Scotland Aberdeen
13 3MF Corry Evans (1990-07-17) 17 July 1990 (age 29) 58 2 England Blackburn Rovers
14 3MF Stuart Dallas (1991-04-19) 19 April 1991 (age 28) 44 3 England Leeds United
11 3MF Shane Ferguson (1991-07-12) 12 July 1991 (age 28) 41 1 England Millwall
17 3MF Paddy McNair (1995-04-27) 27 April 1995 (age 24) 33 3 England Middlesbrough
6 3MF George Saville (1993-06-01) 1 June 1993 (age 26) 20 0 England Middlesbrough
18 3MF Gavin Whyte (1996-01-31) 31 January 1996 (age 23) 9 1 Wales Cardiff City
15 3MF Jordan Thompson (1997-01-03) 3 January 1997 (age 22) 6 0 England Blackpool
19 3MF Liam Donnelly (1996-03-07) 7 March 1996 (age 23) 2 0 Scotland Motherwell
16 3MF Matthew Kennedy (1994-11-01) 1 November 1994 (age 25) 0 0 Scotland St Johnstone

10 4FW Kyle Lafferty (1987-09-16) 16 September 1987 (age 32) 75 20 Norway Sarpsborg 08
21 4FW Josh Magennis (1990-05-15) 15 May 1990 (age 29) 49 7 England Hull City
9 4FW Liam Boyce (1991-04-08) 8 April 1991 (age 28) 20 1 England Burton Albion
22 4FW Shayne Lavery (1998-12-08) 8 December 1998 (age 20) 3 0 Northern Ireland Linfield

Recent call-ups

The following players have been called up to the Northern Ireland squad during the last 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Conor Hazard (1998-03-05) 5 March 1998 (age 21) 1 0 Scotland Celtic v.  Belarus, 11 June 2019

DF Callum Morris (1990-02-03) 3 February 1990 (age 29) 0 0 Scotland Ross County v.  Luxembourg, 5 September 2019 INJ
DF Bobby Burns (1999-10-07) 7 October 1999 (age 20) 0 0 Scotland Heart of Midlothian v.  Luxembourg, 5 September 2019
DF Aaron Hughes (1979-11-08) 8 November 1979 (age 40) 112 1 Retired v.  Belarus, 11 June 2019 RET
DF Gareth McAuley (1979-12-05) 5 December 1979 (age 39) 80 9 Retired v.  Belarus, 11 June 2019 RET
DF Daniel Ballard (1999-09-22) 22 September 1999 (age 20) 0 0 England Arsenal v.  Belarus, 11 June 2019

MF Jordan Jones (1994-10-24) 24 October 1994 (age 25) 9 0 Scotland Rangers v.  Luxembourg, 5 September 2019 INJ
MF Ethan Galbraith (2001-05-11) 11 May 2001 (age 18) 1 0 England Manchester United v.  Luxembourg, 5 September 2019
MF Alfie McCalmont (2000-03-25) 25 March 2000 (age 19) 1 0 England Leeds United v.  Luxembourg, 5 September 2019
MF Mark Sykes (1997-08-04) 4 August 1997 (age 22) 0 0 England Oxford United v.  Luxembourg, 5 September 2019

FW Conor Washington (1992-05-18) 18 May 1992 (age 27) 21 4 Scotland Heart of Midlothian v.  Germany, 9 September 2019
FW Paul Smyth (1997-09-10) 10 September 1997 (age 22) 2 1 England Wycombe Wanderers v.  Luxembourg, 5 September 2019 INJ
FW Will Grigg (1991-07-03) 3 July 1991 (age 28) 13 2 England Sunderland v.  Belarus, 24 March 2019 INJ

INJ = Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
PRE = Preliminary squad.
RET = Player retired from the national team.

Previous squads

FIFA World Cup squads

UEFA European Championship squads

Greatest ever team

The following players were voted by fans as worthy of being included in the Irish Football Association's Greatest Ever Team (in a 4-4-2 formation).[44]

Managerial team

MAN: Billy Bingham (manager 1967-71, 1980-93)
ASS: Michael O'Neill (manager 2012-date)

First XI

Irish Football Association's Greatest Ever Team - First XI

GK: Pat Jennings (1964-86)
RB: Jimmy Nicholl (1976-86)
CB: Aaron Hughes (1998-2018)
CB: Gareth McAuley (2005-2018)
LB: Mal Donaghy (1980-94)
RM: Keith Gillespie (1994-2008)
CM: Danny Blanchflower (1949-63)
CM: Steven Davis (2005- )
LM: George Best (1964-77)
CF: David Healy (2000-13)
CF: Gerry Armstrong (1977-86)

Substitutes

Irish Football Association's Greatest Ever Team - Subs

SUB GK: Harry Gregg (1954-64)
SUB RB: Pat Rice (1968-79)
SUB CB: Alan McDonald (1985-96)
SUB LB: Sammy Nelson (1970-82)
SUB RM: Billy Bingham (1951-63)
SUB CM: Norman Whiteside (1982-89)
SUB LM: Michael Hughes (1991-2004)
SUB CF: Peter Doherty (1935-50)

Results and fixtures

2019

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying

On 2 December 2018, Northern Ireland were drawn to face the Belarus, Estonia, Germany and Netherlands in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group C. The matches are scheduled to be played between March 2019 and November 2019.[52]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Germany Netherlands Northern Ireland Belarus Estonia
1  Germany (Q) 7 6 0 1 24 6 +18 18 Qualify for final tournament 2-4 19 Nov 4-0 8-0
2  Netherlands (Q) 7 5 1 1 19 7 +12 16 2-3 3-1 4-0 19 Nov
3  Northern Ireland (A) 7 4 1 2 8 7 +1 13 0-2 0-0 2-1 2-0
4  Belarus (A) 8 1 1 6 4 16 −12 4 0-2 1-2 0-1 0-0
5  Estonia (E) 7 0 1 6 2 21 −19 1 0-3 0-4 1-2 1-2
Updated to match(es) played on 16 November 2019. Source: UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
(A) Advanced to play-offs; (E) Eliminated; (Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Player records

Northern Ireland's most capped players

  Players still active are highlighted in green

Caps and goals updated as of 14 October 2019 after the match against  Czech Republic

Aaron Hughes has been the most capped outfield player, before being surpassed by Steven Davis
# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Pat Jennings 1964-1986 119 0
2 Steven Davis 2005- 115 12
3 Aaron Hughes 1998-2018 112 1
4 David Healy 2000-2013 95 36
5 Mal Donaghy 1980-1994 91 0
6 Sammy McIlroy 1972-1987 88 5
Maik Taylor 1999-2011 88 0
8 Keith Gillespie 1995-2008 86 2
9 Jonny Evans 2006- 83 4
10 Gareth McAuley 2005-2018 80 9
11 Chris Baird 2003-2016 79 0
12 Kyle Lafferty 2006- 75 20
13 Jimmy Nicholl 1976-1986 73 1
14 Michael Hughes 1992-2004 71 5
15 David McCreery 1976-1990 67 0
16 Nigel Worthington 1984-1997 66 0
17 Chris Brunt 2004-2017 65 3
18 Martin O'Neill 1972-1985 64 8
19 Gerry Armstrong 1977-1986 63 12
20 Iain Dowie 1990-2000 59 12
Terry Neill 1961-1973 59 2
Niall McGinn 2010- 59 4

Top Ireland / Northern Ireland goalscorers

  Players still active are highlighted in green

Caps and goals updated as of 14 October 2019 after the match against  Czech Republic

# Name Career Caps Goals Goals per game
1 David Healy 2000-2013 95 36 0.38
2 Kyle Lafferty 2006- 75 20 0.27
3 Billy Gillespie 1913-1932 25 13 0.52
Colin Clarke 1986-1993 38 13 0.34
5 Joe Bambrick 1928-1940 11 12 1.09
Gerry Armstrong 1977-1986 63 12 0.19
Jimmy Quinn 1985-1996 46 12 0.26
Iain Dowie 1990-2000 59 12 0.20
Steven Davis 2005- 115 12 0.10
10 Olphie Stanfield 1887-1897 30 11 0.37
11 Jimmy McIlroy 1951-1965 55 10 0.18
Peter McParland 1954-1962 34 10 0.29
Johnny Crossan 1959-1967 24 10 0.42
14 Billy Bingham 1951-1963 56 9[n 2] 0.16
George Best 1964-1977 37 9 0.24
Norman Whiteside 1982-1989 38 9 0.24
Gareth McAuley 2005-2018 80 9 0.11

Managers

  Current manager highlighted in green

Last updated after match against  Czech Republic on 14th October 2019.

Manager First Game Last Game Pld W D L GF GA GD Win % Draw % Loss %
Northern Ireland Irish FA Selection Committee 18 February 1882 vs. England 12 May 1951 vs. France 177 29 27 121 200 568 -368 16.38% 15.25% 68.36%
Northern Ireland Peter Doherty 6 October 1951 vs. Scotland 9 May 1962 vs. Netherlands 51 9 14 28 67 119 -52 17.65% 27.45% 54.90%
Northern Ireland Bertie Peacock 10 October 1962 vs. Poland 12 April 1967 vs. Wales 28 11 4 13 46 54 -8 39.29% 14.29% 46.43%
Northern Ireland Billy Bingham 21 October 1967 vs. Scotland 22 May 1971 vs. Wales 20 8 3 9 24 22 +2 40.00% 15.00% 45.00%
Northern Ireland Terry Neill 22 September 1971 vs. Soviet Union 30 October 1974 vs. Sweden 20 6 6 8 16 18 -2 30.00% 30.00% 40.00%
Northern Ireland Dave Clements 16 April 1975 vs. Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 14 May 1976 vs. Wales 11 3 2 6 7 15 -8 27.27% 18.18% 54.55%
Northern Ireland Danny Blanchflower 13 October 1976 vs. Netherlands 21 November 1979 vs. Republic of Ireland 24 6 5 13 19 38 -19 25.00% 20.83% 54.17%
Northern Ireland Billy Bingham 26 March 1980 vs. Israel 17 November 1993 vs. Republic of Ireland 98 32 31 35 91 107 -16 32.65% 31.63% 35.71%
Northern Ireland Bryan Hamilton 23 March 1994 vs. Romania 11 October 1997 vs. Portugal 31 8 8 15 34 41 -7 25.81% 25.81% 48.39%
England Lawrie McMenemy 25 March 1998 vs. Slovakia 9 October 1999 vs. Finland 14 4 3 7 9 25 -16 28.57% 21.43% 64.29%
Northern Ireland Sammy McIlroy 23 February 2000 vs. Luxembourg 2 April 2003 vs. Greece 29 5 7 17 19 40 -21 17.24% 24.14% 58.62%
Northern Ireland Lawrie Sanchez 18 February 2004 vs. Norway 28 March 2007 vs. Sweden 32 11 10 11 35 42 -7 34.38% 31.25% 34.38%
Northern Ireland Nigel Worthington 22 August 2007 vs. Liechtenstein 11 October 2011 vs. Italy 41 9 10 22 35 55 -20 21.95% 24.39% 53.66%
Northern Ireland Michael O'Neill 29 February 2012 vs. Norway - 70 26 17 27 74 77 -3 37.14% 24.29% 38.57%
Total 646 167 147 332 676 1221 -545 25.85% 22.76% 51.39%

Statistics include official FIFA recognised matches only

Current coaching staff

Position Name
Manager Northern Ireland Michael O'Neill
Assistant Manager Northern Ireland Jimmy Nicholl
Coach/analyst Scotland Austin MacPhee
Goalkeeping coach England Steve Harper
Head Physiotherapist Northern Ireland Caroline Woods
Kit Manager Northern Ireland Raymond Millar

Kit suppliers

Kit provider Period
United Kingdom Umbro 1975-1977
Germany Adidas 1977-1990
United Kingdom Umbro 1990-1994
Japan ASICS 1994-1998
Belgium Olympic Sportswear 1998-1999
Belgium Patrick 1999-2004
United Kingdom Umbro 2004-2012
Germany Adidas 2012-present

Competitive record

For the all-time record of the national team against opposing nations, see the team's all-time record page

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup finals record Qualification record Manager(s)
Year Round Pos Pld W D* L GF GA Squad Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay 1930 Not a FIFA member Not a FIFA member None
Italy 1934
France 1938
Brazil 1950 Did not qualify 3 0 1 2 4 17 Irish FA Committee
Switzerland 1954 3 1 0 2 4 7 Peter Doherty
Sweden 1958 Quarter Finals 8th 5 2 1 2 6 10 Squad 4 2 1 1 6 3
Chile 1962 Did not qualify 4 1 0 3 7 8
England 1966 6 3 2 1 9 5 Bertie Peacock
Mexico 1970 4 2 1 1 7 3 Billy Bingham
West Germany 1974 6 1 3 2 5 6 Terry Neill
Argentina 1978 6 2 1 3 7 6 Danny Blanchflower
Spain 1982 Round of 16 9th 5 1 3 1 5 7 Squad 8 3 3 2 6 3 Billy Bingham
Mexico 1986 Group Stage 21st 3 0 1 2 2 6 Squad 8 4 2 2 8 5
Italy 1990 Did not qualify 8 2 1 5 6 12
United States 1994 12 5 3 4 14 13
France 1998 10 1 4 5 6 10 Bryan Hamilton
South Korea Japan 2002 10 3 2 5 11 12 Sammy McIlroy
Germany 2006 10 2 3 5 10 18 Lawrie Sanchez
South Africa 2010 10 4 3 3 13 9 Nigel Worthington
Brazil 2014 10 1 4 5 9 17 Michael O'Neill
Russia 2018 12 6 2 4 17 7
Qatar 2022 To be determined
Canada Mexico United States 2026
Total Quarter-finals 3/21 13 3 5 5 13 23 -- 134 43 36 55 149 161 --
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

UEFA European Championship

UEFA European Championship record Qualification record Manager(s)
Year Round Pos Pld W D* L GF GA Squad Pld W D L GF GA
France 1960 Did not enter Did not enter None
Spain 1964 Did not qualify 4 2 1 1 5 2 Bertie Peacock
Italy 1968 6 1 1 4 2 8 Bertie Peacock, Billy Bingham[53]
Belgium 1972 6 2 2 2 10 6 Billy Bingham, Terry Neill[54]
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1976 6 3 0 3 8 5 Terry Neill, Dave Clements[55]
Italy 1980 8 4 1 3 8 14 Danny Blanchflower
France 1984 8 5 1 2 8 5 Billy Bingham
West Germany 1988 6 1 1 4 2 10
Sweden 1992 8 2 3 3 11 11
England 1996 10 5 2 3 20 15 Bryan Hamilton
Belgium Netherlands 2000 8 1 2 5 4 19 Lawrie McMenemy
Portugal 2004 8 0 3 5 0 8 Sammy McIlroy
Austria Switzerland 2008 12 6 2 4 17 14 Lawrie Sanchez, Nigel Worthington[56]
Poland Ukraine 2012 10 2 3 5 9 13 Nigel Worthington
France 2016 Round of 16 16th 4 1 0 3 2 3 Squad 10 6 3 1 16 8 Michael O'Neill
Europe 2020 To be determined 7 4 1 2 8 7
Germany 2024
Total Round of 16 1/15 4 1 0 3 2 3 -- 117 44 26 47 128 145 --
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League record Manager(s)
Year Division Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA
2018-19 B Group stage 3rd 4 0 0 4 2 7 Michael O'Neill
2020-21 B To be determined
Total Group stage
League B
1/1 4 0 0 4 2 7 --

Summary of results

All competitive matches[57]
P W D L GF GA GD
525 137 114 274 568 1017 -449
All matches including friendlies[58][59]?
P W D L GF GA GD
647 167 148 332 676 1221 -545

Results updated after match against  Netherlands on 16th November 2019.

Honours

Media coverage

Sky Sports currently have the rights to show Northern Ireland's all competitive international fixtures.

Highlights of qualifiers are shown on ITV with rights to World Cup Finals and European Championships held jointly by BBC and ITV - both channels broadcast Northern Ireland's games at Euro 2016.

Dating from the 1960s, for many years Northern Ireland's games were shown live on BBC Northern Ireland, with highlights on network BBC via Sportsnight until the rights to home games were sold to Sky in 2007.[60] In May 2013, Sky acquired the rights to all Northern Ireland qualifying games for UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[61] From 2008-2013, BBC Northern Ireland held the rights to highlights of all of Northern Ireland's home international qualifiers. But in May 2013, ITV secured a deal to show highlights of the European Qualifiers for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, including Northern Ireland games, between 2014 and 2017.

In 2015, BBC Northern Ireland acquired the live rights to show Northern Ireland's friendlies in the run-up to UEFA Euro 2016, but the next two subsequent home friendlies against Croatia and New Zealand were on Premier Sports/eirSport until the contract ends before the 2018 World Cup.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The last match played as Ireland was 1978 versus Scotland,[4] however, apart from this match, all British Championship matches had been played as "Northern Ireland" since the 1973-74 tournament.[5] In the 1972-73 tournament, the first two matches were played as "Ireland" and the third as "Northern Ireland". In the 1971-72 tournament, the first was played as "Ireland" and the second and third as "Northern Ireland". 1970-71 was the last tournament in which all matches were played under the name "Ireland".[6]
  2. ^ Some sources list Bingham as having scored ten goals, but a goal against Spain in 1958 credited to him was more likely scored by Wilbur Cush.

References

  1. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 24 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 18 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ Matthew Taylor (2008). The Association Game: A History of British Football. Harlow:Pearson Education Ltd.
  4. ^ "NIFG: Northern Ireland Programmes 1975-1978". Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "NIFG: Northern Ireland Programmes 1972-1975". Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "NIFG: Northern Ireland Programmes 1968-1972". Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ Whiteside, Norman (2007). Determined. Headline Publishing Group. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7553-1598-7.
  8. ^ Whiteside, Norman (2007). Determined. Headline Publishing Group. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7553-1598-7.
  9. ^ "Northern Ireland 3 Greece 1". BBC Sport. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 2015. At the tournament, the Northern Ireland fans made the famous chant 'Will Grigg's on fire' famous
  10. ^ Jackson, Lyle (16 June 2016). "Ukraine 0, Northern Ireland 2". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "IFA wants out of Windsor contract". BBC News. 17 July 2007. Retrieved 2010.
  12. ^ "Lord's Hansard on the question of building an NI national stadium".
  13. ^ "Tide Turns Against The Maze".
  14. ^ Report slams Windsor Park safety BBC News
  15. ^ IFA wants out of Windsor contract BBC News
  16. ^ South Stand future under threat BBC News
  17. ^ Plans for £128m Belfast stadium unveiled - The Independent, 25/03/09
  18. ^ IFA 'backs Windsor as NI stadium' - BBC News, 07/09/09
  19. ^ Linfield FC has £20m stadium plan - BBC News, 12/06/09
  20. ^ "Stadiums fit for our heroes on way at last Belfast Telegraph". Belfast Telegraph. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  21. ^ "WINDSOR PARK REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT". Irish Football Association. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  22. ^ "GREEN LIGHT FOR STADIUM REDEVELOPMENT". Irish Football Association. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  23. ^ "Windsor Park funding faces legal challenge from Crusaders". BBC Sport. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  24. ^ "Crusaders win right to oppose government funding for Windsor". BBC Sport. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  25. ^ "Crusaders support settlement on Windsor Park upgrade". BBC Sport. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  26. ^ "Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin 'committed' to Windsor upgrade". BBC Sport. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  27. ^ "WORK BEGINS AT WINDSOR PARK". Irish Football Association. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ Brian McNally (5 March 2010). "Why Northern Ireland continue to pay the price for abuse dished out to Neil Lennon". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2011.
  29. ^ "Anger at sectarian songs after NI game". UTV News. UTV. Retrieved 2012.
  30. ^ Horne, John. "Racism, sectarianism and football in Scotlandaccessdate=18 October 2012" (PDF).
  31. ^ Tim Rich (23 August 2002). "Death threat forces Lennon to place family feelings first". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2011.
  32. ^ "BBC News Star helps in graffiti removal". 30 October 2003. Retrieved 2010.
  33. ^ "Lennon hails anti-sectarian drive". BBC News. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 2010.
  34. ^ "PRAISE FOR IFA'S FOOTBALL FOR ALL AWARDS NIGHT".
  35. ^ "Northern Ireland Fans Are Officially The Best In Europe". Irishfa.com. 24 August 2006. Retrieved 2012.
  36. ^ "Holding pen plan is dismissed by Northern Ireland supporters' group". Belfast Telegraph. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  37. ^ "Ballymena's Denver Gage faces sectarian songs probe". BBC. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  38. ^ "Irish FA to ban Northern Ireland fan after chants". BBC News. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  39. ^ "Caral Ni Chuilin attends NI game at Windsor Park". BBC News. 11 August 2011.
  40. ^ "BBC news story on NI ticket sales". BBC News. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 2010.
  41. ^ "Football: George Best: Football's first icon". The Guardian. London. 27 November 2005.
  42. ^ "Will Grigg's on fire: Parody song reaches number seven in ITunes UK Top 100". BBC. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 2019.
  43. ^ "Michael O'Neill names 25-strong squad for Netherlands and Germany games". 6 November 2019.
  44. ^ "Irish Football Association's Greatest Ever Football Team".
  45. ^ "Northern Ireland vs. Estonia - 21 March 2019".
  46. ^ "Northern Ireland vs. Belarus - 24 March 2019".
  47. ^ "Estonia vs. Northern Ireland - 8 June 2019".
  48. ^ "Belarus vs. Northern Ireland - 11 June 2019".
  49. ^ "Northern Ireland vs. Germany - 9 September 2019".
  50. ^ "Netherlands vs. Northern Ireland - 10 October 2019".
  51. ^ "EURO 2020 Qualifier Report: Northern Ireland 0 - 0 Netherlands".
  52. ^ "UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying draw". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Retrieved 2018.
  53. ^ Bertie Peacock managed for the first three qualifying matches. Billy Bingham managed the remainder of the qualification campaign.
  54. ^ Billy Bingham managed for the first three qualifying matches. Terry Neill managed the remainder of the qualification campaign.
  55. ^ Terry Neill managed for the first two qualifying matches. Dave Clements managed the remainder of the qualification campaign.
  56. ^ Lawrie Sanchez managed for the first six qualifying matches. Nigel Worthington managed the remainder of the qualification campaign.
  57. ^ "Historical Results - Fixtures And Results - International - The Irish Football Association". Irishfa.com. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  58. ^ Irish Football Association (2009). Official Souvenir Programme: Northern Ireland vs Serbia. Belfast:Irish Football Association
  59. ^ Jackson, Lyle (14 November 2009). "BBC:''Northern Ireland 0-1 Serbia''". BBC News. Retrieved 2010.
  60. ^ "Sky TV deal to net IFA over £10m". BBC Sport. BBC. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 2013.
  61. ^ Beacom, Steven (15 May 2013). "Northern Ireland fans can reach for the Sky again with new TV deal". Belfast Telegraph. INM. Retrieved 2013.

External links


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