The Republic of Ireland confirmation
The long journey of the Martin O’Neill boys to the euro 2016 competitions in France started on 7th September 2014 when the republic of Ireland faced Georgia in Tbilisi. This was the first game of the boys in green under the management of their new coaches Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane. Aiden Mc Geady netted a brace in the Boris Paichadze stadium to ensure the Republic of Ireland emerge victorious in this tight and competitive contest. One month later, the boys in green trounce Gibraltar 7-0 a victory which really boosted the Irish morale. In this game, the Republic of Ireland’s captain, Robbie Keane managed to net a hat-trick within thirteen minutes. Wes Hoolahan also pulled a really remarkable performance since the high flying skipper despite netting the seventh goal was also involved in setting up all of the Keane’s goals. The next fixture for the boys in green was a very threatening contest since the Irish were playing world champions Germany. Despite the previous humiliation 6-1 by the Germans, the Republic of Ireland went it this game with a lot of confidence and they managed to pull a 1-1 draw. Jeff Hendricks in as a substitute and in the dying minutes of the contest he utilized Hoolahan’s cross to rescue this one crucial point for the martin O’Neill’s boys. In the next three games, Republic of Ireland went without even a single victory. The team lost to Scotland in the first leg and managed a draw in the second leg. Poland also held the boys in green to a 1-1 draw. Robbie Keane was at it again when the Republic of Ireland faced Gibraltar in the return leg fixture. The Irish frontman netted a brace to complete an easy 4-0 win against their weak opponents. The boys in green were also victorious in their next two fixtures overcoming Germany and Georgia both with a score line of 1-0. A loss to Poland and a draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina could not deter the Irish ambition to play in the Euro 20016 competitions. Martin O’Neill boys easily overcame Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0 in their return leg and the final qualifying match to secure their spot in the coming UEFA Euro 2016 competition.
Wales embarked on the Euro 2016 qualification campaign with a match against Andorra in September 2014. It was fairly a good start for Welsh since the team managed a 2-1 win. Bale’s equalizer in the first half set the pace for the Coleman’s side and inspired them to victorious result. This was followed by a barren draw in front of a huge Cardiff crown when Wales played against Bosnia. The point was enough to sustain the welsh on top of their qualifying group B. Cyprus fell a victim of the determined welsh side in the next fixture in a victory which saw welsh comfortably leading their group. In the next fixture, Belgium held Wales to a barren draw, but this could not slow down Wales’s ambition as they easily trounced Israel 3-0 in their next match. Belgium could not prove their solidarity in the return match against Wales, and so the latter sneaked away with a slim 1-0 victory. Cyprus was also punished by Coleman’s side 0-1 before Wales was held to a barren draw by Israel. Following Israel loss to Cyprus, Wales secured their position in the Euro 2016 competition on October 2015 even after they went down in Zeneca when the team faced Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Northern Ireland’s astonishing qualifying
Michael O’Neill men comfortably qualified for the Euro 2016 competitions by topping their qualification group F. This was the first time the Northern Ireland managed to play in the Europe’s top competition. Irish front man Kyle Lafferty inspired the team to a successful Euro campaign right from the start by scoring a goal in a 1-2 victory against Hungary. Lafferty also netted in two consecutive games against Faroe Island and Greece before the O’Neill boys succumbed to a 2-0 defeat by Romania. Northern Ireland falls second in the group following this defeat. Lafferty again did a big favor for the Irish after he netted a very late equalizer to claim a pint from the one man less Hungary in Belfast. In the next fixture, Northern Ireland thrashed Greece 3-1 to make a historical qualification which ended the team 30 years of drought without participating in any major competition. Northern Ireland final qualifying match was against Finland. The Michael O’Neill men ensured a 1-1 draw with their opponents to claim the top position of their qualifying group F. it was a really astonishing and fabulous campaign for Northern Ireland.
It wasn’t all a fun affair for the Scottish side during the Euro qualifying campaign. Of all the major home nations, Scotland was the only country which couldn’t make it past their qualifying group. Throughout the campaign, Scotland underwent a series of ups and downs. Germany lowered the Scottish morale during the first match of the campaign where the Scottish went down 2-1. The team then emerged victorious against Georgia, but they couldn’t maintain their winning streak following a 2—2 draw against Poland. The Scottish managed to defeat Gibraltar and Republic of Ireland but again their up and down wave was evident when the Scottish when they were held to a 1-1 draw by the republic of Ireland followed by a slim loss to Georgia and Germany. Lewandoski’s late minute equalizer buried the Scottish dream to play in the 2016 Euro competition after the Celtic side was held to a 2-2 draw in the playoffs by Poland. An atrocious game it was for the Scottish side.