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2011 Nations Cup

2011 Nations Cup
Nations Cup (football) logo.jpg
Tournament details
Host countryRepublic of Ireland
Dates8 February – 29 May 2011
Venue(s)Aviva Stadium
Final positions
Champions Republic of Ireland
Runners-up Scotland
Third place Wales
Fourth place Northern Ireland
Tournament statistics
Matches played6
Goals scored18 (3 per match)
Attendance74,867 (12,478 per match)
Top scorer(s)Republic of Ireland Robbie Keane (3)

The 2011 Nations Cup (also known as the Carling Nations Cup after its headline sponsor) was a round-robin football tournament between the Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales national teams.[1] The first set of two games were played in Dublin in February, with the remaining four games played in May 2011.[2][3] It was won by the Republic of Ireland, who won all three of their games without conceding a goal.[4][5]


The first international association football match was played between England and Scotland, two of the Home Nations of the United Kingdom, in 1872.[6] The remaining two Home Nations, Wales and Ireland both played their first matches within the following decade, in 1876 and 1882 respectively.[7] The first meetings between the sides were friendlies until they were organised to form the British Home Championship, the first international football tournament, for the 1883–84 season.[8] The competition continued for 100 years, although it was not held during the First or Second World War, before being abolished in 1984 due to claims of fading interest and low crowds.[9]

Calls for the return of the a competition between the Home Nations had been sporadically raised since the end of the British Home Championship with varying degrees of success,[10] but the idea gained widespread attention in 2006 Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez called for its return.[11] In 2007, the national football associations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland met with Wales raising a proposal to revive a Home Nations tournament in the form of a "Celtic Cup" in response to the failure of any British side to qualify for UEFA Euro 2008. However, the plan was ultimately delayed due to fixture congestion with 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixtures already being in place.[12][13] The competition was officially announced in September the following year with the tournament scheduled to be held in Dublin between February and May 2011. England chose to turn down the chance to take part in the competition citing fixture congestion.[12][14] The Football Association of Wales stated its belief in 2007 that England might have joined at a later date if they could have been convinced that there were "practical solutions" to problems like fixture congestion.[15]

It was announced on 12 August 2010, that the tournament would be sponsored by brewing company Carling, and known for sponsorship reasons as the Carling Nations Cup.[1][16] A second tournament was provisionally scheduled to take place in Wales in 2013.[17]

The 2011 Nations Cup began in February 2011 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The Republic of Ireland won the inaugural tournament after winning all three of their matches, culminating with a 1–0 win over Scotland on the final matchday. It was originally intended to be a biennial tournament, but poor attendance at the first tournament meant that it was discontinued.[2][18][19]


The Nations Cup plan initially proposed the tournament would be played as a knockout competition, with the semi-finals being played in August and the final and third-place playoff being played the following February.[12] However, the competition was eventually structured as a round-robin, with each team playing each of the others once, resulting in a total of six games in each season of the competition.[1][2] Three of the teams involved (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) had formerly competed in the now defunct British Home Championship, along with England.[11] The matches in the 2011 tournament were played in February and May, with the location due to rotate on a tournament-by-tournament basis.[20] Brittany also expressed an interest in taking part.[21]


The newly rebuilt Aviva Stadium was chosen to host all six games of the 2011 tournament.

Aviva Stadium
Capacity: 51,700
Aviva Stadium(Dublin Arena).JPG



Matchday one

Republic of Ireland v Wales

The opening match of the competition was played on 8 February 2011 in front of more than 19,000 spectators and featured tournament hosts the Republic of Ireland and Wales. The match was Gary Speed's first fixture in charge of Wales since his appointment as manager in December 2010. Ireland nearly took an early lead when Damien Duff struck the post within the opening five minutes of the game. Wales were denied a penalty by referee Mark Courtney when Hal Robson-Kanu went down in the Ireland penalty box under pressure from Séamus Coleman in a first half that was described by The Guardian as "tame and error-strewn".[22] Ireland registered a number of chances early in the second half before Darron Gibson scored the tournament's opening goal when he played a one-two with Glen Whelan before scoring from 25 yards. Duff added a second seven minutes later with his first international goal for five years before Keith Fahey scored his side's third goal in the final ten minutes with a 20-yard free-kick.[22][23]

Republic of Ireland 3–0 Wales
Gibson Goal 60'
Duff Goal 67'
Fahey Goal 83'
Attendance: 19,783
GK 1 Shay Given (c)
CB 2 Sean St Ledger
LB 3 Ciaran Clark
RB 4 John O'Shea Substituted off 85'
CB 5 Richard Dunne
CM 6 Glenn Whelan Substituted off 76'
RM 7 Séamus Coleman Substituted off 59'
CM 8 Darron Gibson Substituted off 81'
CF 9 Kevin Doyle Substituted off 46'
CF 10 Jonathan Walters
LM 11 Damien Duff Substituted off 71'
FW 17 Shane Long Substituted in 46'
MF 18 Keith Fahey Substituted in 59'
MF 13 Andy Keogh Substituted in 71'
MF 12 Paul Green Substituted in 76'
MF 14 Marc Wilson Substituted in 81'
DF 19 Darren O'Dea Substituted in 85'
Italy Giovanni Trapattoni
GK 1 Wayne Hennessey
RB 2 Neal Eardley Substituted off 46'
LB 3 Sam Ricketts Substituted off 83'
CB 4 Danny Collins
CB 5 James Collins (c)
CM 6 Andrew Crofts
CM 7 David Vaughan Substituted off 61'
CM 8 Andy King
RF 9 Simon Church
CF 10 Robert Earnshaw Substituted off 80'
LF 11 Hal Robson-Kanu Substituted off 68'
DF 13 Chris Gunter Substituted in 46'
MF 16 Joe Ledley Substituted in 61'
MF 15 Freddie Eastwood Substituted in 68'
FW 14 Jermaine Easter Substituted in 80'
DF 21 Lewin Nyatanga Substituted in 83'
Wales Gary Speed

Northern Ireland v Scotland

Northern Ireland and Scotland met a day after the opening match, attracting a crowd of more than 18,000. Scotland midfielder Scott Brown suffered an injury in the warm-up leading to his withdrawal from the starting line-up. When the match began, Northern Ireland enjoyed the brighter start as Niall McGinn saw a shot saved by opposition goalkeeper Allan McGregor However, Scotland soon took control of the match and Kenny Miller, captaining Scotland for the first time in his career, gave his side the lead after 19 minutes after a corner fell to him a yard from the goalline. The goal was the first Scotland had scored in an away fixture since December 2009.[24] Scotland applied further pressure; Steven Caldwell hit the crossbar with a header and Kris Commons' shot was cleared off the goalline before James McArthur, Brown's late replacement in the side, added a second goal after 31 minutes. In the opening minutes of the second half, Scotland scored a third goal via Commons. The match ended in a 3–0 victory for Scotland, matching Ireland's opening result and recording the biggest away victory for the Scots in more than five years.[24][25]

Northern Ireland 0–3 Scotland
Report Miller Goal 19'
McArthur Goal 31'
Commons Goal 51'
Attendance: 18,742
Referee: Tomás Connolly (Republic of Ireland)
GK 1 Jonathan Tuffey (c)
RB 2 Rory McArdle Substituted off 46'
LB 3 Chris Baird
CM 4 Gareth McAuley
CB 5 Stephen Craigan Substituted off 66'
CB 6 Corry Evans
RM 7 Paddy McCourt
CM 8 Steven Davis Substituted off 58'
CF 9 Rory Patterson
CF 10 Grant McCann Substituted off 46'
LM 11 Niall McGinn Substituted off 72'
DF 13 Lee Hodson Substituted in 46'
FW 15 David Healy Substituted in 46'
MF 17 Oliver Norwood Substituted in 58'
MF 14 Adam Thompson Substituted in 66'
FW 16 Liam Boyce Substituted in 72'
Northern Ireland Nigel Worthington
GK 1 Allan McGregor
RB 2 Alan Hutton
LB 3 Phil Bardsley Substituted off 58'
CB 4 Christophe Berra
CB 5 Steven Caldwell
CM 6 Charlie Adam Substituted off 58'
AM 7 James Morrison Substituted off 79'
RM 8 Steven Naismith Substituted off 58'
CF 9 Kenny Miller (c) Substituted off 87'
LM 11 Kris Commons Substituted off 72'
CM 13 James McArthur
MF 15 Barry Bannan Substituted in 58'
DF 16 Mark Wilson Substituted in 58'
MF 20 Robert Snodgrass Substituted in 58'
MF 17 Craig Conway Substituted in 72'
FW 19 Chris Maguire Substituted in 79'
DF 14 Danny Wilson Substituted in 87'
Scotland Craig Levein

Matchday two

Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland

The second round of fixtures began with a fixture between the Republic of Ireland and neighbouring Northern Ireland on 24 May. A row between the two nations over player eligibility, brought on by two Northern Irish youth internationals changing allegiances in the lead up to the fixture,[26] lead to a boycott of the match by fans of the side with only around 200 travelling to the game. Although Northern Ireland started well, the Republic took the lead shortly before half-time through debutant Stephen Ward after an error by opposition goalkeeper Alan Blayney. Republic striker Robbie Keane capitalised on another defensive error shortly afterwards, intercepting a pass by Lee Hodson before converting. The Republic added a third before half time when Northern Ireland defender Craig Cathcart turned a cross into his own net.[27]

Early in the second half, a poor clearance by Blayney led to Adam Thompson conceding a penalty following a foul on Keane. Thompson received the only red card of the Nations Cup for his foul, despite Keane calling for leniency from referee Craig Thomson. Keane converted the resulting penalty for his second goal of the game. Another debutant, Simon Cox, scored a fifth for the Republic with ten minutes remaining. The five goal deficit was the largest margin of victory ever recorded by the Republic over Northern Ireland and was the Republic's largest victory since a win over San Marino by the same scoreline in 2006.[27][28]

Republic of Ireland 5–0 Northern Ireland
Ward Goal 24'
Keane Goal 37'54' (pen.)
Cathcart Goal 45' (o.g.)
Cox Goal 80'
Attendance: 15,083
GK 1 Shay Given Substituted off 72'
RB 2 Paul McShane
CB 4 Stephen Kelly
CB 5 Damien Delaney
LB 3 Stephen Ward
CM 6 Kevin Foley Substituted off 70'
RM 7 Séamus Coleman Substituted off 55'
CM 8 Keith Andrews
CF 9 Simon Cox
CF 10 Robbie Keane (c) Substituted off 62'
LM 11 Keith Treacy
MF 13 Liam Lawrence Substituted in 55'
MF 12 Andy Keogh Substituted in 62'
MF 17 Stephen Hunt Substituted in 70'
GK 16 David Forde Substituted in 72'
Italy Giovanni Trapattoni
GK 1 Alan Blayney
RB 2 Adam Thompson Red card 54'
LB 3 Lee Hodson
CB 4 Craig Cathcart
CB 5 Gareth McAuley (c)
RM 6 Sammy Clingan
CM 7 Josh Carson Substituted off 72'
CM 8 Steven Davis Substituted off 76'
CF 9 Josh McQuoid Substituted off 46'
CF 10 Warren Feeney Substituted off 72'
LM 11 Johnny Gorman Substituted off 56'
MF 14 Oliver Norwood Substituted in 46'
DF 13 Colin Coates Substituted in 56'
MF 15 Niall McGinn Substituted in 72'
FW 16 Liam Boyce Substituted in 72'
MF 17 Robert Garrett Substituted in 76'
Northern Ireland Nigel Worthington

Wales v Scotland

Wales 1–3 Scotland
Earnshaw Goal 36' Report Morrison Goal 55'
Miller Goal 63'
Berra Goal 70'
Attendance: 6,036
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Northern Ireland)
GK 1 Boaz Myhill
RB 2 Neal Eardley Substituted off 61'
LB 3 Neil Taylor Substituted off 46'
CM 4 Owain Tudur Jones Substituted off 72'
CB 5 Craig Morgan
CB 6 Darcy Blake
CM 7 Andy Dorman Substituted off 61'
CM 8 Andy King Substituted off 61'
CF 9 Sam Vokes Substituted off 72'
CF 10 Robert Earnshaw (c)
CF 11 Jermaine Easter
DF 13 Chris Gunter Substituted in 46'
MF 17 Aaron Ramsey Substituted in 61'
DF 18 Adam Matthews Substituted in 61'
MF 19 David Cotterill Substituted in 61'
MF 16 David Vaughan Substituted in 72'
FW 20 Steve Morison Substituted in 72'
Wales Gary Speed
GK 1 Allan McGregor
RB 2 Steven Whittaker Substituted off 81'
LB 3 Stephen Crainey Substituted off 81'
CB 4 Christophe Berra
CB 5 Gary Caldwell Substituted off 84'
LM 6 James Morrison Substituted off 74'
CF 7 Ross McCormack Substituted off 74'
CM 8 Scott Brown
CF 9 Kenny Miller (c)
CM 10 Charlie Adam Substituted off 88'
RM 11 Steven Naismith
MF 16 Barry Robson Substituted in 74'
MF 18 Barry Bannan Substituted in 74'
DF 14 Phil Bardsley Substituted in 81'
DF 20 Russell Martin Substituted in 81'
DF 22 Grant Hanley Substituted in 84'
MF 13 James McArthur Substituted in 88'
Scotland Craig Levein

Matchday three

Wales v Northern Ireland

Wales 2–0 Northern Ireland
Ramsey Goal 36'
Earnshaw Goal 69'
GK 1 Wayne Hennessey Substituted off 74'
DF 2 Chris Gunter Substituted off 72'
DF 3 Neil Taylor
MF 4 Jack Collison Substituted off 61'
DF 5 Danny Collins
DF 6 Danny Gabbidon
AM 7 David Cotterill
CF 8 Craig Bellamy Substituted off 61'
CF 9 Steve Morison Substituted off 80'
MF 10 Aaron Ramsey (c) Substituted off 89'
MF 11 David Vaughan
CF 17 Robert Earnshaw Substituted in 61'
MF 16 Owain Tudur Jones Substituted in 61'
DF 13 Adam Matthews Substituted in 72'
GK 12 Lewis Price Substituted in 74'
CF 18 Sam Vokes Substituted in 80'
MF 19 Andy Dorman Substituted in 89'
Wales Gary Speed
GK 1 Jonathan Tuffey
DF 2 Lee Hodson
DF 3 Colin Coates
DF 4 Craig Cathcart Substituted off 61'
DF 5 Gareth McAuley (c)
MF 6 Oliver Norwood
MF 7 Josh Carson
MF 8 Robert Garrett Substituted off 75'
MF 9 Niall McGinn Substituted off 80'
FW 10 Warren Feeney Substituted off 72'
FW 11 Johnny Gorman
MF 15 Stuart Dallas Substituted in 61'
FW 14 Liam Boyce Substituted in 72'
DF 13 Carl Winchester Substituted in 75'
FW 16 Jordan Owens Substituted in 80'
Northern Ireland Nigel Worthington

Republic of Ireland v Scotland

Republic of Ireland 1–0 Scotland
Keane Goal 23' Report
Attendance: 17,694
Referee: Mark Whitby (Wales)
GK 1 Shay Given
CB 2 Paul McShane Yellow card 42'
LB 3 Stephen Ward
RB 4 Stephen Kelly
CB 5 Darren O'Dea Substituted off 66'
CM 6 Keith Fahey Yellow card 48'
RM 7 Liam Lawrence Substituted off 62'
CM 8 Keith Andrews Yellow card 90'
CF 9 Simon Cox
CF 10 Robbie Keane (c) Substituted off 83'
LM 11 Stephen Hunt
MF 13 Séamus Coleman Substituted in 62'
DF 12 Kevin Foley Yellow card 73' Substituted in 66'
MF 15 Keith Treacy Substituted in 83'
Italy Giovanni Trapattoni
GK 1 Allan McGregor
RB 2 Steven Whittaker
LB 3 Phil Bardsley
CB 4 Christophe Berra
CB 5 Grant Hanley
RM 6 Barry Robson Substituted off 75'
LM 7 James Forrest Substituted off 85'
CM 8 Scott Brown
CF 9 Kenny Miller (c) Yellow card 76'
CM 10 Charlie Adam Yellow card 62' Substituted off 63'
CF 11 Steven Naismith
MF 16 Barry Bannan Substituted in 63'
MF 19 Chris Maguire Substituted in 75'
FW 17 Ross McCormack Substituted in 85'
Scotland Craig Levein


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1  Republic of Ireland 3 3 0 0 9 0 +9 9
2  Scotland 3 2 0 1 6 2 +4 6
3  Wales 3 1 0 2 3 6 −3 3
4  Northern Ireland 3 0 0 3 0 10 −10 0
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Number of goals scored;


3 goals
2 goals
1 goal
1 goal (own goal)

Media coverage

Every match of the tournament was shown live on Sky Sports (also on Sky 3D), with the Wales matches simulcasted live with Welsh language commentary on S4C.[29]

  •  United Kingdom and  Ireland: Sky Sports
    •  Ireland: RTÉ (Highlights of all matches)
    •  Northern Ireland: BBC Northern Ireland (Highlights of Northern Irish matches only)
    •  Wales: S4C (Welsh matches only)



The Football Association of Ireland was criticised by the media, supporters and other football associations for setting high ticket prices. The 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium was less than half-full for all of the games.[30][31] The game between Wales and Northern Ireland was attended by only 529 fans, many of whom were Scots who happened to be in Dublin for their country's game two days later.

During the game between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Republic fans booed "God Save the Queen", and Northern Ireland fans booed the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, as she greeted players before the game.[32][33] Northern Ireland fans were criticised for singing sectarian chants at games.[34] Scotland fans also booed "God Save the Queen", when playing Northern Ireland.[35]

Wales manager Gary Speed criticised the tournament organisers for scheduling Wales' games to be within three days of each other, the only team to suffer such timing. He also criticised the officiating in the game against Scotland, in which in his opinion several fouls on Welsh players went unpunished.[36][37]

Future tournaments

After the first tournament, which attracted some small attendances, there was a dispute about the division of revenues between the four associations.[17] In early 2011, it was reported by BBC Sport that there was a possibility of the British Home Championship being revived in 2013,[38][39] but no tournament was held. Jim Shaw, the president of the Irish Football Association, said in January 2012 that he did not envisage a second tournament being staged.[17]


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  35. ^ Murray, Euan (9 February 2011). "Scotland sweep aside Northern Ireland in Nations Cup". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
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