Qatar Heroes: The story of how Ireland won the 2022 World Cup at Christmas time
Roy Keane led us to the promised land.
It been confirmed that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place in November and December and that it's possible that the World Cup Final itself will be played on December 18.
With that in mind, we decided to look into our crystal ball and envision not only how Ireland might fare at the tournament but what it would be like if we went and won the feckin' thing. A veritable Irish Christmas miracle.
It was emotional.
The Republic of Ireland are champions of world football following their stunning performance at World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
Here's a timeline of the ups and downs of the incredible journey, and how Roy Keane led us to glory.
April 1, 2022
Eight months ahead of the tournament, there's a shock change of manager after the FAI reportedly removed Custard Creams from the team canteen.
May 10, 2022
The headline of the day on JOE's newly-launched retro-style newspaper is all about Roy Keane's confidence ahead of the tournament.
May 12, 2022
The draw for the World Cup group stages takes place in Nyon in Switzerland; here's who Ireland will play.
The Twitter reaction to Ireland's World Cup group
October 26, 2022
Roy Keane names his 23-man Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup in Qatar.
James McCarthy (c)
The surprise inclusion is 41-year-old striker Robbie Keane.
His selection is down to the lack of a natural finisher elsewhere. Keane, meanwhile, has been in great form for the Albuquerque Albatrosses in the MLS, scoring 21 goals in 25 games.
November 17, 2022
The FAI spared no expense with the pre-tournament preparation. They set up a training camp on the secluded island of Socotra.
In case you didn't know where it is, here's the map.
Interesting fact: Socotra is twinned with the island of Saipan.
November 20, 2022
A week out from Ireland's opening game, The JOE.ie Post break a huge story about the official water providers to the Irish football team - Irish Water.
November 23, 2022
Justin Bieber, Hozier, a hologram of Kanye West and Left Shark perform at the World Cup opening ceremony.
The only thing Irish people are concerned with is Group G. The nation expects.
November 27, 2022
Ireland face Uruguay in the opening game of group G and the big talking point ahead of the game is Luis Suarez's new brand agreement with Nike.
A nervous start from both sides, but Ireland prevail thanks to veteran striker Robbie Keane.
December 3, 2022
The second group game against France is loaded with controversy.
French striker Alexandre Lacazette handles the ball in the box before squaring it to Rafael Varane, who taps it into the goal.
However, it's ruled out thanks to FIFA's introduction of seven goal-line assistants.
Following that moment of controversy, Ireland made up for the heartbreak of 2009.
December 8, 2022
The game versus Japan clashed with the biggest shopping day of the year for country people.
That forced Taoiseach (and football fan) Mick Wallace into this controversial move.
With that settled, Ireland could focus on the game. They needed a point to qualify; they got it.
December 10, 2022
The Late Late Toy Show celebrates all things Irish and a special announcement is made.
David Rawle, who made his name in Moone Boy back in 2012, confirms to Ryan Tubridy that he will play James Bond in the next 007 movie.
December 12, 2022
Ireland's quarter final showdown with USA saw former President Barack Obama reminisce about his visit to Moneygall while also making no bones about where his loyalties lay.
December 16, 2022
Ireland's game with Mexico was dominated by talk about the weather, and for good reason.
RTE's state-of-the-art coverage is one of the highlights of the tournament.
This heat map of the pitch they produced just before the game was very insightful.
Despite the sweltering heat, Roy Keane and his team marched on.
December 20, 2022
The old enemy in the semi final, but the Ireland manager had a plan.
The heat in Qatar became the national conversation back at home in Ireland.
Memes of the one-time viral sensation Ruairi McSorley started to surface online.
The game itself against England is a tense affair with youngster Brooklyn Beckham hitting the woodwork twice in the first half.
Just like Keane wanted, the game went to penalties.
December 21, 2022
The bandwagon was overflowing at this stage, because Ireland had reached the World Cup Final.
Now all they need is an official World Cup Final song and there was only one man for the job.
The song broke the record for most sales on an opening day in Irish chart history.
December 23, 2022
The World Cup Final between Ireland and Brazil; the David and Goliath of football.
The newspapers were rife with speculation that Robbie Keane would miss out because of a back injury he picked up cartwheeling after the win over England.
It's was Brazil vs Ireland on Twitter as well.
A nation holds its breath.
Ireland were dominated from start to finish by Brazil, who lacked creativity outside obvious threat Neymar.
Goalkeeper Shane Supple made a string of vital saves and some last ditch defending somehow kept Kleberson's men out.
Keane wasn't deemed fit enough to start the final, but he came on a sub in the second half and what an impact he had.
Last minute. Corner. Knock down from McCarthy. Keane swings. GOAL!
These were the scenes in Phoenix Park when the goal went in.
Here's the victorious Irish team with the FIFA World Cup trophy after the final whistle in Qatar. Wonderful scenes.
Robbie Keane was asked if winning the World Cup was a boyhood dream, he replied: "Actually no, my boyhood dreams were playing for Wolves, Spurs, Liverpool and LA Galaxy, moving to Serie A and MLS, representing my country and appearing in a photo alongside David Beckham without being called an unidentified fan.
"Winning the World Cup with Ireland never came into my head."
December 26, 2022
Millions of people turned up in Phoenix Park to welcome home the victorious Ireland team.
Roy Keane's fashion choice was questionable but no-one cared because he brought the World Cup trophy home to Ireland.
Here's a photo of Keane greeting the fans who turned up to congratulate the team.
The best Christmas present of all time. #HereToTakeOver
A big thanks to Eric Lalor, Eoin Ronayne, Peter Cooney and Conor Heneghan who helped on the piece.