During the summer of 2015, I wrote about the Republic of Ireland football team and the number of drawn games the team was involved in. 4 years ago, the Boys In Green led the way for the number of draws during UEFA qualifying for major championships (World Cup and Euros). With Ireland's fate now to be decided next month in the Aviva, I thought it timely to revisit this. The reality is that Ireland have become even more of an outlier.
Let's look closer.
The graphic below presented data on draw (blue)/win(red) /loss(green) outcomes for all UEFA nations between 2002 and 2020 qualifying, as of today. Yet again, the Republic of Ireland appear on the far left.
The Republic of Ireland have now drawn more group qualifying games, and considerably more at that, than any UEFA country since World Cup 2002 qualification. In total, this amounts to 33 games. That is 33 out of 87, nearly 40%. The draw "leaderboard" is presented to the right.
At the same time the team have won 38 games. The win rate ranks Ireland 23rd out of all UEFA members, and with 24 countries at the Euro's since 2016 (including the hosts) it would seem obvious why our qualification always comes down to the wire.
However, despite losing more games, Turkey have played at the same number of major finals (3), Belgium 4 (and with Euro 2020 this will be 5), Greece 5 (including winning Euro 2004!), Czech Republic 6 and Sweden 7!
As I said in 2015, we simply draw too many games. This campaign alone has witnessed three (Denmark, Switzerland and Georgia). As we now know, a draw at home to Denmark next month won't be enough. Let's hope we can avoid, what seems to be, the inevitability of this - a next month a draw is the same as a loss.