Qatar Heroes: The story of how Ireland won the 2022 World Cup at Christmas time 7 years ago

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.

Roy Keane Manager

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.

Roy Keane JOE Post

May 12, 2022

The draw for the World Cup group stages takes place in Nyon in Switzerland; here's who Ireland will play.


world cup draw

The Twitter reaction to Ireland's World Cup group

BOD Tweet Brooks tweet Coleman tweet Dunphy tweet Grealish Tweet Horan Tweet Notorious Tweet Ryanair Tweet Suarez Tweet

October 26, 2022

Roy Keane names his 23-man Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup in Qatar.


Shane Supple
Eric Grimes
Ian Lawlor

Seamus Coleman
Cyrus Christie
Ciaran Clark
Shane Duffy
Daniel Cleary
Pierce Sweeney
Bobby Moseley

Jack Byrne
James McCarthy (c)
Robbie Brady
Jeff Hendrick
James McClean
Jack Grealish
Chris Forrester

Robbie Keane
Sam Byrne
Kieran Sadlier
Anthony Stokes
Sean Maguire
Eoghan Stokes

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.

Socotra Maps




Interesting fact: Socotra is twinned with the island of Saipan.

November 20, 2022

A week out from Ireland's opening game, The Post break a huge story about the official water providers to the Irish football team - Irish Water.

Irish Water Headline

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.

Flags WC 2022

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.

Suarez (1)

A nervous start from both sides, but Ireland prevail thanks to veteran striker Robbie Keane.

uruguay result copy

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.

Refs seven

Following that moment of controversy, Ireland made up for the heartbreak of 2009.

france result copy

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.

MickW Taoisech

With that settled, Ireland could focus on the game. They needed a point to qualify; they got it.

japan update


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.

obama tweet

US President Barack Obama Visits Ireland




December 16, 2022

Ireland's game with Mexico was dominated by talk about the weather, and for good reason.

Qatar Temp Tweet

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.

Heatmap WC 2022

Despite the sweltering heat, Roy Keane and his team marched on.

mexico result copy

December 20, 2022

The old enemy in the semi final, but the Ireland manager had a plan.

Roy Keane England Quote


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.

england result copy


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.

Brooks tweet about song

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.

Keane Injury

It's was Brazil vs Ireland on Twitter as well.

Gisele Tweet

McGregor Tweet back

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!

Brazil result copy


FAI win tweet

These were the scenes in Phoenix Park when the goal went in.

Scenes Irish

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."

FAI Homecoming Tweet

December 26, 2022

Garda Tweet

Mick Wallace

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.

pope keane

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.