5 of the Greatest Recent Battles of the British Nations and Ireland Ahead of Wales' Trip to Dublin

Though not quite on the scale of the traditional club derby, the Home Nations facing off against one another usually adds a bit of spice to what is generally the dull spectacle that is international football. Friday night sees Wales travel to the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup qualifying match, and as the two countries prepare to do battle, it's time to look back at some of the classic Home Nations clashes in recent years. Northern Ireland's stock may have risen over the last few years,...

England 2-1 Wales (2016)

Having waited 57 years to compete at a major tournament, Wales were incredibly paired with neighbours England in Group B for the 2016 European Championships. 


A stunning Gareth Bale free-kick - or Joe Hart error depending on which side of the border you reside on - gave Chris Coleman's men a surprise first half lead. 


Jamie Vardy restored parity with a scrappy equaliser minutes after the break and the turnaround was complete when substitute Daniel Sturridge poked home in the dying moments to secure victory for the Three Lions. 


Heartbreak for the Welsh, but they would go on to surpass many expectations by reaching the semi-finals of the tournament, whilst victory proved to be England's only win of the competition, as they crashed out in the first knockout round with a shock 2-1 defeat to Iceland.

Republic of Ireland 5-0 Northern Ireland (2011)

Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the history between these two countries, this match was blighted by off-field problems before the game as a dispute over player eligibility led to many Northern Ireland first-team players dropping out, whilst only 200 visiting fans made the trip across the border due to security concerns. 


On the pitch, a young Northern Ireland team were completely outclassed as they made countless errors to gift their neighbours victory. Two goalkeeping mistakes led to debutant Stephen Ward and Robbie Keane putting the hosts two up, before a Craig Cathcart own goal extended their lead before half-time. 


Keane grabbed his second of the game from the penalty spot after the interval and the away side's misery was complete when Simon Cox added a fifth to hand the Republic of Ireland bragging rights. 

England 3-2 Scotland (2013)

Arranged to mark the English FA's 150th anniversary, these old foes met for the first time in 14 years and provided the spectacle befitting of the occasion. 


The unfancied Scots had twice taken the lead at Wembley, with James Morrison and Kenny Miller scoring early on in either half. Both times however, they saw their lead cancelled out, as Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck equalised to leave the stage set for Rickie Lambert to achieve an extraordinary feat. 


The former Southampton striker came off the bench to thunder home a header in the 70th minute to not only grab the Three Lions the winner, but also score with his very first touch in international football.


Lambert would go on to score twice more for his country and his impressive domestic form would see him included in the England squad for their underwhelming 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil.

Wales 2-1 Scotland (2012)

Having lost his first four matches in charge of the Welsh national team, Chris Coleman looked set to make it five straight defeats in a row against Scotland after James Morrison had given the visitors a first-half lead. 


With both teams searching for their first points in their World Cup qualifying group, the Welsh pressed hard for an equaliser and their efforts were rewarded when star man Gareth Bale scored from the spot 10 minutes from time, having himself been fouled by Shaun Maloney. 


Never one to hide in the big moments, Bale then turned the match on it's head when his stunning 25 yard strike nestled in the top right-hand corner to give Coleman his first victory as manager and leave the Scots disconsolate after the late turnaround. 

Northern Ireland 1-0 England (2005)

Northern Ireland's stock may have risen over the last few years, but they were once considered to be the lesser of all of the Home Nations. 


When England travelled to Windsor Park in September 2005 for a World Cup qualifier, many expected them to ease past Lawrie Sanchez's men. However, despite the vast difference in quality between the two teams, the home side put in an inspired display and claimed a famous victory when David Healey fired home in the 73rd minute to leave Sven Goran Eriksson and his players stunned. 


Though it did not prevent the Three Lions from qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, it remains one of their more embarrassing defeats in recent history and was indicative of how a 'golden generation' of players failed to live up to the hype. 

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