I've attended all three home qualifiers at the Aviva Stadium for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. Despite the fact we are unbeaten at home, have defeated Georgia in Tbilisi, and managed to grab a fantastic point against world champions Germany in Gelsenkirchen, it's now likely the Boys in Green won't even finish in the top three places in Group D. People have argued that this is down to defeat against Scotland last Novemeber in Park Head. Whilst true, I believe another factor is the points Ireland have dropped in the Avivia.
Since the turn of the year, the team has secured two draws in Dublin. Four points were left behind. Only three were lost in Scotland. Upon reflection I started to consider how often I have watched the Irish team play out battling draws. Recently I can recall these against Germany (home and away), Italy (home and away), Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic (I'm sure there are more!), all of which occurred from the time in Croke Park to today. Ireland don;t lose to many games to qualify for major tournaments, they draw too many.
The first graphic below presents data on all qualifying games (excluding play-off matches) from 2002 - 2014.The country that has drawn the most qualifiers during the period - Republic of Ireland.
While I shudder to that that Ireland are not one of the best 24 teams in Europe at the moment, should the team fail to reach the Euro 2016 Finals, the country's win ranking in qualifiers from 2002 to 2014 would support this uncomfortable reality. Ireland have won 25/60 games, a win rate that places the team in 24th spot. This is behind countries like Norway, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Bosnia, Romania and Turkey.
Draws might have done in the past, but winning games, especially those at home, is what gets countries to finals.