Which players started the last time Ireland faced Iceland?

This year is the 20th anniversary of the last meeting between the sides

Mick McCarthy, Ireland, Iceland, World Cup, David Connolly

Mick McCarthy congratulates David Connolly © James Meehan/INPHO

A lot has changed for Icelandic football over the past two decades - not least the fact that they've got a taste for major tournaments.

They made their bow at Euro 2016 to delight of everyone around the continent - England fans aside - and like Ireland post-Euro 88, Iceland are making a real fist of getting to the following World Cup.

They are second in their qualifying group for Russia 2018, sitting just three points behind leaders Croatia and if they can maintain course, Iceland could at least make it to a playoff spot.

Tonight, the Nordic nation are in Dublin to face Ireland in an international friendly and it will be just shy of 20 years since the last meeting.

September 6th 1997 was the date of the last head to head between both sides and on that occasion there was much to play for as it was a qualifier for the 1998 World Cup.

Mick McCarthy had been in the Ireland job for about 18 months at this point and this maiden campaign would end with a playoff defeat to Belgium. 

Ten months earlier, Iceland had held the Irish side to a 0-0 draw at the old Landsdowne Road.

But Ireland were able to get back among the goals in September 1997 as they returned from Reykyavik with a 4-2 victory.

Ireland's Roy Keane leads the team out followed by Kenny Cunningham ©INPHO/James Meehan

The core of the side which went to the 2002 World Cup was in place, although youngsters like Robbie Keane and Damien Duff were not part of the scene at that point, with their debuts coming six months later in the Czech Republic.

Shay Given kept goal as a fresh faced 21 year old, having made his senior debut the previous year. Ahead of him, Gary Kelly, Kenny Cunningham, Jeff Kenna and Steve Staunton, Kevin Kilbane, Ian Harte, Roy Keane, Alan McLoughlin and Andy Townsend operated. And leading the line was David Connolly.

The striker had made his Ireland debut in 1996 but by the time Iceland came around, he had already scored five international goals, three of those against Liechtenstein.

His sixth would open the scoring in Reykyavik as he capitalised on a defensive and goalkeeping mishap to tap in.

Roy Keane would score nine times for Ireland during his career and two of those would come in this match as turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. The first came from a header, not too dissimilar to the one that would later come in '99 as he dragged Manchester United past Juventus.

His second was a run from midfield and a simple finish as Iceland's defence wilted.

And Mark Kennedy, who would be sent off six minutes from time, would tap in a fourth via some decidedly poor goalkeeping on the line.