2011 Nations Cup

  (Redirected from Nations Cup (football))

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]

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 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



Matchday oneEdit

Republic of Ireland v WalesEdit

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

Northern Ireland v ScotlandEdit

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

Matchday twoEdit

Republic of Ireland v Northern IrelandEdit

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

Wales v ScotlandEdit

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

Matchday threeEdit

Wales v Northern IrelandEdit

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

Republic of Ireland v ScotlandEdit

Republic of Ireland  1–0  Scotland
Keane   23' Report
Attendance: 17,694
Referee: Mark Whitby (Wales)
GK 1 Shay Given
CB 2 Paul McShane   42'
LB 3 Stephen Ward
RB 4 Stephen Kelly
CB 5 Darren O'Dea   66'
CM 6 Keith Fahey   48'
RM 7 Liam Lawrence   62'
CM 8 Keith Andrews   90'
CF 9 Simon Cox
CF 10 Robbie Keane (c)   83'
LM 11 Stephen Hunt
MF 13 Séamus Coleman   62'
DF 12 Kevin Foley   73'   66'
MF 15 Keith Treacy   83'
  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   75'
LM 7 James Forrest   85'
CM 8 Scott Brown
CF 9 Kenny Miller (c)   76'
CM 10 Charlie Adam   62'   63'
CF 11 Steven Naismith
MF 16 Barry Bannan   63'
MF 19 Chris Maguire   75'
FW 17 Ross McCormack   85'
  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
Source: rssssf.com
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Number of goals scored;


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

Media coverageEdit

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 tournamentsEdit

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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