Ireland vs Mexico: A vibrant head to head history

The Boys in Green have faced Thursday's opponents five times including at USA 94

BY Raf Diallo 15:41 Wednesday 31 May 2017, 15:41 31 May 2017

Damien Duff of Ireland and Pavel Pardo of Mexico © INPHO/Keith Heneghan

On June 1st, when Ireland and Mexico go head to head in a friendly match in New Jersey, the result will be of limited interest to both sides.

The match is more a chance to blood talent and prepare for crucial World Cup qualifiers in UEFA and CONCACAF respectively a few days later.

It's also the resumption of a match-up with five previous editions between both nations.


Just under two years before Mexico were due to host a World Cup for the second time in their history, they faced the fellow Boys in Green in a friendly match at Dalymount Park with just 5,000 in attendance.

The match itself would finish 0-0 but some future major tournament players for Ireland were involved including Mick McCarthy, who had made his international debut three months earlier, Kevin Moran and Chris Hughton. 


The next encounter would not come for another decade and it was on the biggest stage of all: The FIFA World Cup.

Both sides had been drawn into Group E alongside Norway and Italy. Ireland had already stunned the Italians in the opening match of the group due to Ray Houghton's famous finish and Mexico had lost to Norway.

Mexico thus needed a win and they delivered as they beat Ireland 2-1 in the extreme heat at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

A dejected John Aldridge of Ireland leaves the field at the end of the game ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Their No 10 Luis Garcia got both goals while John Aldridge scored what proved to be a consolation goal six minutes from time.

The match is famous for one reason which relates to Aldo. Aldridge was coming on as a second half sub when his introduction was delayed by the FIFA officials causing the former Liverpool and Real Sociedad striker's temper to fray as he launched a tirade at those same officials.

Former Ireland kitman Charlie O'Leary explained what happened to Newstalk's Team 33 last year: "What happened was this: Jack would nominate the substitute to me and I fill in the form. Now, I walked over and the fourth official was a Scottish gentleman and I walked over. But also the opposing team was handing in a substitution as well. But then Jack decided to make two substitutions and I handed in and the fourth official handed me back one of the papers because he had two now - one from me and one from the opposing team. So I went across and he pointed to small table - 'put it on that' - and there was a white line. I went across to put it on the table and this Brazilian gentleman with a blue jacket stopped me and said 'Don't you cross that line'. I said 'I'm putting it on the table there' and he said, 'Here, give it to me' and he threw it and it never reached the table. It fell on the ground and when John Aldridge came down to make the substitution, he hadn't got the paper and I tried to explain to Jack, 'there it is there, but [the official] won't let me pick it up'.

"Jack wasn't annoyed with me. He was upset because this gentleman was so officious that he wouldn't let me step over the line - and it only meant one step."

Hence the delay which led to Aldo losing his temper in the searing heat.  


The sides would meet again in the US Cup at Giants Stadium, New Jersey in a 2-2 draw. Mr Garcia who had caused Ireland such problems at the World Cup two years earlier turned up trumps for Mexico again with a brace.

But a goal from David Connolly and an own goal from Mexico meat Mick McCarthy's side picked up a draw.

However, in a game marked by plenty of yellow and red cards, Ireland had Liam Daish and Niall Quinn sent off (the latter wasn't even on the pitch at the time), while McCarthy was also expelled from the sideline. 


Yet another 0-0, this time in a pre-World Cup friendly on May 23rd 1998 at Landsdowne Road. Ireland had failed to qualify for the 1998 World Cup but for Mexico it was part of their preparations for a tournament in which they would reach their customary last-16 place. 

Robbie Keane and Damien Duff both started, having made their international debuts earlier in '98.

The match is best remembered for the orange jerseys sported by Ireland on the day. 


The last meeting between Ireland and Mexico came 17 years ago on June 4th 2000 in the Nike Cup at Soldiers Field in Chicago where the Irish rugby team finally defeated New Zealand recently.

It was a far more exciting game than the 1984 and 1998 friendlies as the sides played out a 2-2 draw Stateside.

And it involved an Ireland comeback from 2-0 down as goals either side of half time from Daniel Osorno and Horacio Sanchez putting Mexico in control.

But Richard Dunne netted on the hour before Dominic Foley scored the equaliser 11 minutes later.

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