It has not been a good week for the Republic of Ireland men’s senior team. One possible issue related to this – the heat in Georgia – was reported in the media last week (see here and here).
For me, appealing to the heat in Tbilisi seems like an easy excuse. While the weather may marginally influence performance, a quick look at the data suggests that our results away from home down through the years have largely been independent of temperature considerations.
To analyse this, I looked at the historic temperature for our away fixtures since that infamous match in Orlando in World Cup 94’ (memories of Steve Staunton wearing that white hat in the baking heat always come flooding back).
I could access historical temperature data for 102, Irish away/neutral internationals since 94’. Unsurprisingly, the Ireland vs Mexico match in Orlando in 94' was the hottest at 29°C. The coldest match was our recent away win in Vienna at just above 1°C last November in Austria.
While I don’t control for the quality of opposition, and assume it evens out over campaigns, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that we perform worse in hotter climes. For instance, at equal to, plus or minus one degree of heat, as it was recorded in Georgia last week (21°C), we have recorded the following results:
- We drew 1-1 against the Spanish in Suwon in 2002 (over 120 minutes).
- We beat Georgia 2-1 in Mainz in 2008.
- We beat Macedonia 2-0 in Skopje in 2011.
- We drew 1-1 against Bulgaria in Sofia in 2009
- We beat Italy 1-0 in last year’s Euro’s
- We beat Cyprus in Nicosia 1-0 in 2005
- We drew 1-1 with Cameroon in Niigata in 2002
Looking at away matches with temperatures more similar to traditional Irish conditions it becomes obvious that we have lost and drawn plenty of fixtures.
While this is just a quick look at the data, and I know humidity can often be more important, there doesn’t seem to be any discernible patterns for the Irish.