Ireland should be happy they have seen the back of Hakan Yakin

The Swiss star last played for the national team in 2011

BY Daniel Kelly 15:48 Friday 25 March 2016, 15:48 25 Mar 2016

Hakan Yakin, left, Switzerland, celebrates after scoring, with team-mate Johan Vonlanthen. Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

As Martin O'Neill prepares his side for face Switzerland on Friday night, they will be looking for their first win against the Swiss for exactly 24 years.

Jack Charlton's side won the Lansdowne Road friendly 2-1 after conceding an early own goal from Ronnie Whelan. A goal either side of half time from Tommy Coyne and a late John Aldridge penalty gave Ireland the win on that Wednesday afternoon.

Since that win, Ireland have played the Swiss in four qualifiers, losing twice and drawing the others. Hakan Yakin turned out to be the hero of the Swiss side during the mid-2000's, scoring in three of those four games. The only game he failed to score in was a scoreless draw.

2002: Republic of Ireland 1-2 Switzerland

Ireland's World Cup hangover continued after a loss to Russia with the same fate against Switzerland in what turned out to be Mick McCarthy's last game in charge. Hakan Yakin gave the away side the lead before Ireland equalised through an own goal from Ludovic Magnin.

Fabio Celestini scored the winner three minutes from time. The full-time whistle was greeted by a chorus of boos as Mick McCarthy's tenure came to an end.

Mick McCarthy congratulates Jakob Kuhn, Switzerland manager, after the game. Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

2003: Switzerland 2-0 Republic of Ireland

By the time the teams met again, Brian Kerr was in charge of Ireland. The last game of the qualification campaign took place in Basel with Ireland only a point behind the Swiss in Group 10 of Euro 2004 qualification.

A win would guarantee Ireland at least a play-off spot and eliminate Switzerland. A sixth minute goal from Yakin set the tone for the game. Alexander Frei scored in the second half to give the Swiss a 2-0 win and book their plane tickets to Portugal. 

Alexander Frei scores his sides second goal. Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

2004: Switzerland 1-1 Republic of Ireland

Ireland began their 2006 World Cup qualification campaign with a win against Cyprus before an away game in Basel against the Swiss, who finished bottom of their group on Euro 2004.

Clinton Morrison opened the scoring for Ireland before, Hakan Yakin scored in the third game in a row against the sides. After the 2-0 loss the year before, a 1-1 draw was seen as major progress under Kerr.


Clinton Morrison in action against Switzerland. Picture credit; Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

2005: Republic of Ireland 0-0 Switzerland

The scoreless draw in Dublin was the only game in that four-year period that the Basel striker did not score in. As was the case with the previous campaign, the two sides met in the final game of qualification.

Ireland needed to win to push ahead of the Swiss into the play off spots. Yakin's goals over those two qualification campaigns helped Switzerland to eight points out of a possible 12. If you remove his goals from those games, Ireland would have five points instead of two.

History could have been so different...



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