Northern Ireland national football team
|Nickname(s)||Green and White Army,|
|Association||Irish Football Association|
|Head coach||Ian Baraclough|
|Most caps||Steven Davis (124)|
|Top scorer||David Healy (36)|
|Home stadium||Windsor Park|
|Current||45 (18 February 2021)|
|Highest||20 (September 2017)|
|Lowest||129 (September 2012)|
| Ireland 0–13 England |
(Belfast; 18 February 1882)
as Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland 1–4 England
(Belfast; 7 October 1950)
| Ireland 7–0 Wales |
(Belfast; 1 February 1930)
as Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland 5–0 Cyprus
(Belfast; 21 April 1971)
Faroe Islands 0–5 Northern Ireland
(Landskrona; 11 September 1991)
| Ireland 0–13 England |
(Belfast; 18 February 1882)
as Northern Ireland
Netherlands 6–0 Northern Ireland
(Amsterdam; 2 June 2012)
|Appearances||3 (first in 1958)|
|Best result||Quarter-finals, 1958|
|Appearances||1 (first in 2016)|
|Best result||Round 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.[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. Northern Ireland held the accolade of being the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup Finals from their first appearance in 1958 until 2006, when Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the 2006 World Cup. At UEFA Euro 2016, the team made its first appearance at the European tournament and reached the round of 16.
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.
British Home Championship
Until the 1950s, the major competition for Northern Ireland/Ireland was the British Home Championship. The team 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
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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, it seemed to be likely that Northern Ireland might 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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". 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
Historic controversy over sectarianism
A small element of Northern Ireland's support was, in the past, regarded as sectarian. 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 a death threat by Loyalists and retired from international football in 2002 as a result.
Steps taken to eradicate the sectarian element within the support have been successful. Lennon has been quick to praise these initiatives. He also praised the "Football For All" Outstanding Achievement Award Winner Stewart MacAfee for the work he has done to create a more inclusive atmosphere at international games.
People like Stewart are the unsung heroes who have been brave enough to challenge sectarianism and who have actively created a more fun, safe and family-orientated atmosphere at international games. Fans like Stewart have made the atmosphere at Northern Ireland football games in recent years the envy of Fans across not only Europe but World football. From a personal point of view I would like to thank them for their efforts.
In 2006, Northern Ireland's supporters were awarded the Brussels International Supporters Award 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.
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.
The following players were called up for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying play-off against Slovakia on 12th November and the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League games against Austria on 15th November and Romania on 18th November 2020.
Caps and goals updated as of 18 November 2020, after the match against Romania.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|12||GK||Michael McGovern||12 July 1984||33||0||Norwich City|
|1||GK||Bailey Peacock-Farrell||29 October 1996||19||0||Burnley|
|23||GK||Conor Hazard||5 March 1998||1||0||Celtic|
|5||DF||Jonny Evans||3 January 1988||89||4||Leicester City|
|20||DF||Craig Cathcart||6 February 1989||57||2||Watford|
|14||DF||Stuart Dallas||19 April 1991||52||3||Leeds United|
|11||DF||Shane Ferguson||12 July 1991||46||1||Millwall|
|2||DF||Conor McLaughlin||26 July 1991||42||1||Sunderland|
|3||DF||Jamal Lewis||25 January 1998||18||0||Newcastle United|
|19||DF||Michael Smith||4 September 1988||14||1||Heart of Midlothian|
|4||DF||Tom Flanagan||21 October 1991||8||0||Sunderland|
|15||DF||Ryan McLaughlin||30 September 1994||5||0||Rochdale|
|22||DF||Daniel Ballard||22 September 1999||5||0||Blackpool|
|17||MF||Paddy McNair||27 April 1995||42||4||Middlesbrough|
|18||MF||Gavin Whyte||31 January 1996||15||2||Hull City|
|6||MF||Ethan Galbraith||11 May 2001||2||0||Manchester United|
|13||MF||Alistair McCann||4 December 1999||2||0||St Johnstone|
|7||MF||Matthew Kennedy||1 November 1994||1||0||Aberdeen|
|21||FW||Josh Magennis||15 May 1990||57||8||Hull City|
|16||FW||Conor Washington||18 May 1992||29||4||Charlton Athletic|
|9||FW||Liam Boyce||8 April 1991||27||2||Heart of Midlothian|
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||Trevor Carson||5 March 1988||6||0||Motherwell||v. Norway, 14 October 2020|
|MF||Steven Davis (captain)||1 January 1985||124||12||Rangers||v. Romania, 18 November 2020 WTD|
|MF||Niall McGinn||20 July 1987||62||5||Aberdeen||v. Romania, 18 November 2020 INJ|
|MF||Jordan Thompson||3 January 1997||12||0||Stoke City||v. Romania, 18 November 2020 INJ|
|MF||George Saville||1 June 1993||26||0||Middlesbrough||v. Austria, 15 November 2020 WTD|
|MF||Corry Evans||17 July 1990||64||2||Blackburn Rovers||v. Slovakia, 12 November 2020 INJ|
|MF||Jordan Jones||24 October 1994||11||0||Rangers||v. Norway, 14 October 2020|
|MF||Joel Cooper||29 February 1996||0||0||Oxford United||v. Norway, 14 October 2020|
|MF||Alfie McCalmont||25 March 2000||1||0||Oldham Athletic||v. Norway, 7 September 2020|
|FW||Kyle Lafferty||16 September 1987||79||20||Kilmarnock||v. Austria, 15 November 2020 WTD|
|FW||Shayne Lavery||8 December 1998||5||0||Linfield||v. Norway, 7 September 2020|
INJ = Withdrew due to an injury.
FIFA World Cup squads
UEFA European Championship squads
Results and fixtures
|4 September 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B||Romania||1–1||Northern Ireland||Bucharest, Romania|
|Pușcaș 25'||Report||Whyte 86'||Stadium: Arena Națională|
Referee: François Letexier (France)
|7 September 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B||Northern Ireland||1–5||Norway||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|McNair 6'||Report||Elyounoussi 2'
Haaland 7', 58'
Sørloth 19', 47'
|Stadium: Windsor Park|
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (Poland)
|8 October UEFA Euro 2020 Path B Play-off Semi-final||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1–1 (a.e.t.)|
|Northern Ireland||Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Krunić 14'||Report||McGinn 53'||Stadium: Stadion Grbavica|
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)
|11 October 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B||Northern Ireland||0–1||Austria||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Report||Gregoritsch 42'||Stadium: Windsor Park|
Referee: Petr Ardeleánu (Czech Republic)
|14 October 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B||Norway||1–0||Northern Ireland||Oslo, Norway|
|Dallas 68' (o.g.)||Report||Stadium: Ullevaal Stadion|
Referee: Kristo Tohver (Estonia)
|12 November UEFA Euro 2020 Path B Play-off Final||Northern Ireland||1–2 (a.e.t.)||Slovakia||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Škriniar 88' (o.g.)||Report||Kucka 17'
|Stadium: Windsor Park|
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)
|15 November 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B||Austria||2–1||Northern Ireland||Vienna, Austria|
|Report||Magennis 75'||Stadium: Ernst-Happel-Stadion|
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy)
|18 November 2020–21 UEFA Nations League B||Northern Ireland||1–1||Romania||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Boyce 56'||Report||Bicfalvi 81'||Stadium: Windsor Park|
Referee: Sandro Schärer (Switzerland)
|25 March 2022 FIFA World Cup Group C Qualifier||Italy||v||Northern Ireland||Parma, Italy|
|Stadium: Stadio Ennio Tardini|
|28 March International Friendly||Northern Ireland||v||United States||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Stadium: Windsor Park|
|31 March 2022 FIFA World Cup Group C Qualifier||Northern Ireland||v||Bulgaria||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Stadium: Windsor Park|
|5 September International Friendly||Estonia||v||Northern Ireland||Tallinn, Estonia|
|Stadium: A. Le Coq Arena|
|8 September 2022 FIFA World Cup Group C Qualifier||Northern Ireland||v||Switzerland||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Stadium: Windsor Park|
|12 November 2022 FIFA World Cup Group C Qualifier||Northern Ireland||v||Lithuania||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Stadium: Windsor Park|
|15 November 2022 FIFA World Cup Group C Qualifier||Northern Ireland||v||Italy||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Stadium: Windsor Park|
FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying
On 7 December 2020, Northern Ireland were drawn to face the Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania and Switzerland in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – UEFA Group C. The matches are scheduled to be played between March 2021 and November 2021.
|1||Italy||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Qualification to 2022 FIFA World Cup||—||12 Nov||25 Mar||2 Sep||8 Sep|
|2||Switzerland||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Advance to second round||5 Sep||—||9 Oct||15 Nov||28 Mar|
|3||Northern Ireland||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||15 Nov||8 Sep||—||31 Mar||12 Nov|
|4||Bulgaria||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||28 Mar||25 Mar||12 Oct||—||5 Sep|
|5||Lithuania||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||31 Mar||12 Oct||2 Sep||9 Oct||—|
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
Most capped players
Caps and goals updated as of 18 November 2020 after the match against Romania
|#||Name||NI Career||Caps||Goals||First Cap||Last Cap|
|1||Steven Davis||2005–||124||12||9 February 2005 vs.||15 November 2020 vs.|
|2||Pat Jennings||1964–1986||119||0||15 April 1964 vs.||12 June 1986 vs.|
|3||Aaron Hughes||1998–2018||112||1||25 March 1998 vs.||3 June 2018 vs.|
|4||David Healy||2000–2013||95||36||23 February 2000 vs.||26 March 2013 vs.|
|5||Mal Donaghy||1980–1994||91||0||16 May 1980 vs.||11 June 1994 vs.|
|6||Jonny Evans||2006–||89||4||6 September 2006 vs.||18 November 2020 vs.|
|7||Sammy McIlroy||1972–1986||88||5||16 February 1972 vs.||15 October 1986 vs.|
|Maik Taylor||1999–2011||88||0||27 March 1999 vs.||11 October 2011 vs.|
|9||Keith Gillespie||1995–2008||86||2||7 September 1995 vs.||19 November 2008 vs.|
|10||Gareth McAuley||2005–2018||80||9||4 June 2005 vs.||18 November 2018 vs.|
|11||Chris Baird||2003–2016||79||0||3 June 2003 vs.||12 June 2016 vs.|
|Kyle Lafferty||2006–||79||20||21 May 2006 vs.||12 November 2020 vs.|
|13||Jimmy Nicholl||1976–1986||73||1||24 March 1976 vs.||12 June 1986 vs.|
|14||Michael Hughes||1991–2004||71||5||13 November 1991 vs.||8 September 2004 vs.|
|15||David McCreery||1976–1990||67||0||8 May 1976 vs.||18 May 1990 vs.|
|16||Nigel Worthington||1984–1997||66||0||22 May 1984 vs.||11 February 1997 vs.|
|17||Chris Brunt||2004–2017||65||3||18 August 2004 vs.||12 November 2017 vs.|
|18||Martin O'Neill||1971–1984||64||8||13 October 1971 vs.||14 November 1984 vs.|
|Corry Evans||2009–||64||2||6 June 2009 vs.||14 October 2020 vs.|
|20||Gerry Armstrong||1977–1986||63||12||27 April 1977 vs.||12 June 1986 vs.|
|21||Niall McGinn||2008–||62||5||19 November 2008 vs.||12 November 2020 vs.|
Players with an equal number of caps are ranked in chronological order of reaching the milestone.
Caps and goals updated as of 18 November 2020 after the match against Romania
|#||Name||NI Career||Goals||Caps||Goals per game||First Goal||Last Goal|
|1||David Healy||2000–2013||36||95||0.38||23 February 2000 vs.||14 November 2012 vs.|
|2||Kyle Lafferty||2006–||20||79||0.25||16 August 2006 vs.||11 November 2016 vs.|
|3||Billy Gillespie||1913–1932||13||25||0.52||15 February 1913 vs.||20 October 1926 vs.|
|Colin Clarke||1986–1993||13||38||0.34||23 April 1986 vs.||9 September 1992 vs.|
|5||Joe Bambrick||1928–1940||12||11||1.09||22 October 1928 vs.||16 March 1938 vs.|
|Gerry Armstrong||1977–1986||12||63||0.19||16 November 1977 vs.||14 November 1984 vs.|
|Jimmy Quinn||1984–1995||12||46||0.26||16 October 1984 vs.||11 October 1995 vs.|
|Iain Dowie||1990–1999||12||59||0.20||16 October 1991 vs.||18 November 1998 vs.|
|Steven Davis||2005–||12||124||0.10||8 October 2005 vs.||21 March 2019 vs.|
|10||Olphie Stanfield||1887–1897||11||30||0.37||12 March 1887 vs.||6 March 1897 vs.|
|11||Jimmy McIlroy||1951–1965||10||55||0.18||6 October 1956 vs.||22 November 1961 vs.|
|Peter McParland||1954–1962||10||34||0.29||31 March 1954 vs.||9 November 1960 vs.|
|Johnny Crossan||1959–1967||10||24||0.42||28 November 1962 vs.||2 October 1965 vs.|
|14||Billy Bingham||1951–1963||9[n 2]||56||0.16||3 November 1954 vs.||12 October 1963 vs.|
|George Best||1964–1977||9||37||0.24||14 November 1964 vs.||21 April 1971 vs.|
|Norman Whiteside||1982–1989||9||38||0.24||21 September 1983 vs.||6 September 1989 vs.|
|Gareth McAuley||2005–2018||9||80||0.11||11 February 2009 vs.||11 November 2016 vs.|
Captaincies updated as of 18 November 2020 after the match against Romania
|#||Name||Captaincy Span||Times||Record as Captain||First Captaincy||Last Captaincy|
|W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Win %||Draw %||Loss %|
|1||Steven Davis||2006–||69||23||18||28||75||79||-4||33.33%||26.09%||40.58%||21 May 2006 vs.||12 November 2020 vs.|
|2||Aaron Hughes||2002–2015||47||12||18||17||46||56||-10||25.53%||38.30%||36.17%||14 April 2002 vs.||31 May 2015 vs.|
|3||Danny Blanchflower||1954–1962||42||10||12||20||60||96||-36||23.81%||28.57%||47.62%||3 November 1954 vs.||28 November 1962 vs.|
|4||Terry Neill||1963–1973||38||16||8||14||58||53||5||42.11%||21.05%||36.84%||3 April 1963 vs.||19 May 1973 vs.|
|5||Martin O'Neill||1980–1984||33||12||11||10||29||34||-5||36.36%||33.33%||30.30%||26 March 1980 vs.||14 November 1984 vs.|
|6||Alan McDonald||1990–1995||26||8||8||10||28||29||-1||30.77%||30.77%||38.46%||17 May 1990 vs.||7 June 1995 vs.|
|7||Steve Lomas||1997–2003||22||5||6||11||14||26||-12||22.73%||27.27%||50.00%||10 September 1997 vs.||2 April 2003 vs.|
|8||Allan Hunter||1974–1979||19||6||4||9||19||31||-12||31.58%||21.05%||47.37%||30 October 1974 vs.||21 November 1979 vs.|
|Sammy McIlroy||1980–1986||19||7||7||5||15||15||0||36.84%||36.84%||26.32%||16 May 1980 vs.||12 June 1986 vs.|
|10||John McClelland||1984–1990||17||4||5||8||15||21||-6||23.53%||29.41%||47.06%||16 October 1984 vs.||27 March 1990 vs.|
|11||Billy Gillespie||1921–1930||14||4||3||7||19||27||-8||28.57%||21.43%||50.00%||22 October 1921 vs.||20 October 1930 vs.|
|Maik Taylor||2004–2011||14||4||4||6||13||18||-5||28.57%||28.57%||42.86%||31 March 2004 vs.||11 October 2011 vs.|
Captaincy appearances are only awarded to players who were assigned the captaincy at the start of an international game.
Players with an equal number of captaincies are ranked in chronological order of reaching the milestone.
Most clean sheets
Caps and goals updated as of 18 November 2020 after the match against Romania
|#||Name||NI Career||Clean Sheets||Caps||Clean sheets per game||First Clean Sheet||Last Clean Sheet|
|1||Pat Jennings||1964–1986||45||119||0.38||29 April 1964 vs.||23 April 1986 vs.|
|2||Maik Taylor||1999–2011||34||88||0.39||31 March 1999 vs.||8 October 2010 vs.|
|3||Roy Carroll||1997–2017||18||45||0.40||21 May 1997 vs.||2 June 2017 vs.|
|4||Michael McGovern||2010–||16||33||0.48||30 May 2010 vs.||5 September 2019 vs.|
|5||Tommy Wright||1989–1999||11||31||0.35||26 April 1989 vs.||29 March 1997 vs.|
|6||Alan Mannus||2004–2016||7||9||0.78||6 June 2004 vs.||27 May 2016 vs.|
|7||Elisha Scott||1920–1936||6||31||0.19||18 April 1925 vs.||5 December 1931 vs.|
|Jim Platt||1976–1986||6||23||0.26||24 March 1976 vs.||15 December 1982 vs.|
|Alan Fettis||1991–1998||6||25||0.24||26 April 1995 vs.||10 October 1998 vs.|
|Bailey Peacock-Farrell||2018–||6||19||0.32||29 May 2018 vs.||16 November 2019 vs.|
|11||Billy Scott||1903–1913||5||25||0.20||21 March 1903 vs.||19 March 1910 vs.|
|12||Harry Gregg||1954–1963||4||25||0.16||10 April 1957 vs.||17 October 1961 vs.|
|Allen McKnight||1987–1989||4||10||0.40||11 November 1987 vs.||14 September 1988 vs.|
|Jonny Tuffey||2008–2011||4||8||0.50||12 August 2009 vs.||17 November 2010 vs.|
A goalkeeper is awarded a clean sheet if he does not concede a goal during his time on the pitch.
Last updated on 16 July 2020. 
Worst Ranking Best Ranking Worst Mover Best Mover
|36||2019||10||6||1||3||28||5 (June)||36||4 (October)|
|35||2018||9||2||2||5||24||2 (March)||35||6 (October)|
|24||2017||9||5||1||3||20||9 (April)||35||3 (October)|
|32||2016||13||5||3||5||25||4 (November)||36||6 (October)|
|30||2015||9||4||4||1||29||8 (March)||51||4 (April)|
|48||2014||7||3||1||3||43||28 (October)||95||6 (August)|
|89||2013||8||1||2||5||86||23 (September)||119||22 (April)|
|96||2012||7||0||4||3||86||17 (November)||129||28 (September)|
|88||2011||10||1||1||8||38||5 (February)||89||25 (April)|
|43||2010||10||1||3||4||39||14 (September)||59||11 (March)|
|40||2009||9||3||3||3||27||15 (April)||52||9 (November)|
|52||2008||8||2||2||4||32||2 (June)||52||10 (December)|
|32||2007||9||4||2||3||27||14 (April)||49||9 (September)|
|48||2006||8||4||1||3||45||21 (July)||103||3 (November)|
|103||2005||10||2||2||6||101||15 (September)||116||4 (August)|
|107||2004||11||3||6||2||107||9 (April)||124||2 (July)|
|122||2003||8||0||2||6||106||1 (June)||122||7 (October)|
|103||2002||6||0||3||3||89||1 (April)||103||8 (September)|
|88||2001||8||2||1||5||88||10 (September)||107||4 (June)|
|93||2000||7||3||1||3||84||5 (October)||98||5 (May)|
|84||1999||8||1||2||5||67||19 (January)||84||7 (October)|
|86||1998||6||3||1||2||86||7 (October)||99||6 (February)|
|93||1997||9||1||3||5||63||5 (April)||93||10 (December)|
|64||1996||7||1||3||3||48||11 (December)||75||9 (October)|
|45||1995||8||3||2||3||45||10 (September)||55||5 (February)|
|45||1994||7||3||0||4||33||7 (April)||45||8 (June)|
|39||1993||8||4||1||3||39||3 (August)||42||2 (October)|
FIFA ranking history
The following is a chart of the yearly averages of Northern Ireland's FIFA ranking.
Last updated after match against Romania on 18 November 2020.
|Manager||First Game||Last Game||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Win %||Draw %||Loss %|
|Irish FA Selection Committee||18 February 1882 vs.||12 May 1951 vs.||177||29||27||121||200||568||-368||16.39%||15.25%||68.36%|
|Peter Doherty||6 October 1951 vs.||9 May 1962 vs.||51||9||14||28||67||119||-52||17.65%||27.45%||54.90%|
|Bertie Peacock||10 October 1962 vs.||12 April 1967 vs.||28||11||4||13||46||54||-8||39.29%||14.29%||46.42%|
|Billy Bingham||21 October 1967 vs.||22 May 1971 vs.||20||8||3||9||24||22||+2||40.00%||15.00%||45.00%|
|Terry Neill||22 September 1971 vs.||30 October 1974 vs.||20||6||6||8||16||18||-2||30.00%||30.00%||40.00%|
|Dave Clements||16 April 1975 vs.||14 May 1976 vs.||11||3||2||6||7||15||-8||27.27%||18.18%||54.55%|
|Danny Blanchflower||13 October 1976 vs.||21 November 1979 vs.||24||6||5||13||19||38||-19||25.00%||20.83%||54.17%|
|Billy Bingham||26 March 1980 vs.||17 November 1993 vs.||98||32||31||35||91||107||-16||32.65%||31.64%||35.71%|
|Bryan Hamilton||23 March 1994 vs.||11 October 1997 vs.||31||8||8||15||34||41||-7||25.81%||25.81%||48.38%|
|Lawrie McMenemy||25 March 1998 vs.||9 October 1999 vs.||14||4||3||7||9||25||-16||28.57%||21.43%||50.00%|
|Sammy McIlroy||23 February 2000 vs.||2 April 2003 vs.||29||5||7||17||19||40||-21||17.24%||24.14%||58.62%|
|Lawrie Sanchez||18 February 2004 vs.||28 March 2007 vs.||32||11||10||11||35||42||-7||34.38%||31.24%||34.38%|
|Nigel Worthington||22 August 2007 vs.||11 October 2011 vs.||41||9||10||22||35||55||-20||21.95%||24.39%||53.66%|
|Michael O'Neill||29 February 2012 vs.||19 November 2019 vs.||72||26||18||28||75||83||-8||36.11%||25.00%||38.89%|
|Ian Baraclough||4 September 2020 vs.||-||8||0||3||5||6||14||-8||0.00%||37.50%||62.50%|
Statistics include official FIFA recognised matches only
Current coaching staff
|Assistant Manager||Jimmy Nicholl|
|Coaching Assistant||Damien Johnson|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Steve Harper|
|Head Physiotherapist||Caroline Woods|
|Kit Manager||Raymond Millar|
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)|
|1930||Not a FIFA member||Not a FIFA member||None|
|1950||Did not qualify||3||0||1||2||4||17||Irish FA Committee|
|1962||Did not qualify||4||1||0||3||7||8|
|1982||Second group stage||9th||5||1||3||1||5||7||Squad||8||3||3||2||6||3||Billy Bingham|
|1990||Did not qualify||8||2||1||5||6||12|
|2022||To be determined|
UEFA European Championship
|UEFA European Championship record||Qualification record||Manager(s)|
|1960||Did not enter||Did not enter||None|
|1964||Did not qualify||4||2||1||1||5||2||Bertie Peacock|
|1968||6||1||1||4||2||8||Bertie Peacock, Billy Bingham|
|1972||6||2||2||2||10||6||Billy Bingham, Terry Neill|
|1976||6||3||0||3||8||5||Terry Neill, Dave Clements|
|2008||12||6||2||4||17||14||Lawrie Sanchez, Nigel Worthington|
|2016||Round of 16||16th||4||1||0||3||2||3||Squad||10||6||3||1||16||8||Michael O'Neill|
|2020||Did not qualify||10||4||2||4||11||16||Michael O'Neill, Ian Baraclough|
|2024||To be determined|
|Total||Round of 16||1/16||4||1||0||3||2||3||—||120||44||27||49||131||154||—|
UEFA Nations League
|UEFA Nations League record||Manager(s)|
|2022–23||C||To Be Determined|
Summary of results
- All competitive matches
Results updated after match against Romania on 18 November 2020.
- British Home Championship
Sky Sports currently have the rights to show Northern Ireland's all competitive international fixtures.
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. In May 2013, Sky acquired the rights to all Northern Ireland qualifying games for UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 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.
- Northern Ireland national under-21 football team
- Northern Ireland national under-19 football team
- Northern Ireland national under-17 football team
- The last match played as Ireland was 1978 versus Scotland, however, apart from this match, all British Championship matches had been played as "Northern Ireland" since the 1973–74 tournament. 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".
- 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.
- "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 18 February 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
- Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
- Matthew Taylor (2008). The Association Game: A History of British Football. Harlow:Pearson Education Ltd.
- "NIFG: Northern Ireland Programmes 1975–1978". Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "NIFG: Northern Ireland Programmes 1972–1975". Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- "NIFG: Northern Ireland Programmes 1968–1972". Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- Whiteside, Norman (2007). Determined. Headline Publishing Group. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7553-1598-7.
- Whiteside, Norman (2007). Determined. Headline Publishing Group. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7553-1598-7.
- "Northern Ireland 3 Greece 1". BBC Sport. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
At the tournament, the Northern Ireland fans made the famous chant ‘Will Grigg’s on fire’ famous
- Jackson, Lyle (16 June 2016). "Ukraine 0, Northern Ireland 2". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "IFA wants out of Windsor contract". BBC News. 17 July 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Lord's Hansard on the question of building an NI national stadium".
- "Tide Turns Against The Maze".
- Report slams Windsor Park safety BBC News
- IFA wants out of Windsor contract BBC News
- South Stand future under threat BBC News
- Plans for £128m Belfast stadium unveiled – The Independent, 25/03/09
- IFA 'backs Windsor as NI stadium' – BBC News, 07/09/09
- Linfield FC has £20m stadium plan – BBC News, 12/06/09
- "Stadiums fit for our heroes on way at last Belfast Telegraph". Belfast Telegraph. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- "WINDSOR PARK REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT". Irish Football Association. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- "GREEN LIGHT FOR STADIUM REDEVELOPMENT". Irish Football Association. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- "Windsor Park funding faces legal challenge from Crusaders". BBC Sport. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- "Crusaders win right to oppose government funding for Windsor". BBC Sport. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "Crusaders support settlement on Windsor Park upgrade". BBC Sport. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin 'committed' to Windsor upgrade". BBC Sport. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "WORK BEGINS AT WINDSOR PARK". Irish Football Association. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "BBC news story on NI ticket sales". BBC News. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "Football: George Best: Football's first icon". The Guardian. London. 27 November 2005.
- "Will Grigg's on fire: Parody song reaches number seven in ITunes UK Top 100". BBC. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- Brian McNally (5 March 2010). "Why Northern Ireland continue to pay the price for abuse dished out to Neil Lennon". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- "Anger at sectarian songs after NI game". UTV News. UTV. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Horne, John. "Racism, sectarianism and football in Scotlandaccessdate=18 October 2012" (PDF).
- Tim Rich (23 August 2002). "Death threat forces Lennon to place family feelings first". London: The Independent. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- "BBC News Star helps in graffiti removal". 30 October 2003. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "Lennon hails anti-sectarian drive". BBC News. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "PRAISE FOR IFA'S FOOTBALL FOR ALL AWARDS NIGHT".
- "Northern Ireland Fans Are Officially The Best In Europe". Irishfa.com. 24 August 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Caral Ni Chuilin attends NI game at Windsor Park". BBC News. 11 August 2011.
- "NI boss Ian Baraclough chooses 26-strong panel for games against Slovakia, Austria and Romania". 5 November 2020.
- "2022 World Cup qualifying draw". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
- "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking - Associations - Northern Ireland - Men's - FIFA.com". Retrieved 28 August 2020.
- Bertie Peacock managed for the first three qualifying matches. Billy Bingham managed the remainder of the qualification campaign.
- Billy Bingham managed for the first three qualifying matches. Terry Neill managed the remainder of the qualification campaign.
- Terry Neill managed for the first two qualifying matches. Dave Clements managed the remainder of the qualification campaign.
- Lawrie Sanchez managed for the first six qualifying matches. Nigel Worthington managed the remainder of the qualification campaign.
- Michael O'Neill managed the team for the eight qualifying group stage matches. Ian Baraclough managed the team in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs.
- "Historical Results – Fixtures And Results – International – The Irish Football Association". Irishfa.com. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- Irish Football Association (2009). Official Souvenir Programme: Northern Ireland vs Serbia. Belfast:Irish Football Association
- Jackson, Lyle (14 November 2009). "BBC:''Northern Ireland 0–1 Serbia''". BBC News. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
- "Sky TV deal to net IFA over £10m". BBC Sport. BBC. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
- Beacom, Steven (15 May 2013). "Northern Ireland fans can reach for the Sky again with new TV deal". Belfast Telegraph. INM. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
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