Euro 2022: why only ‘God Save the Queen’ will be played when Northern Ireland play England

Each side sings their own anthem, accompanied by fans in the crowd; shoulders squared, heads held high, sometimes eyes filled with salty tears at the sound of patriotic rallying.

The other two countries that make up the UK have their own national anthems for sporting events that are not held under the flag of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Wales has “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” (“The Land of My Fathers”) and Scotland has “The Flower of Scotland”. But in this case, England and Northern Ireland will share God Save the Queen.

Different anthems for different sports

This prank quirk illuminates a complex identity Northern Ireland National team.
Most recently, between 1968 and 1998, a period of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland known as The Troubles claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people. Sutton Death Index.

The Good Friday Agreement (or Belfast Agreement) helped end years of conflict between nationalists who wanted a united Ireland and loyalists who wanted to remain part of Britain.

These different political views were broadly in line with religious beliefs, with Protestants favoring unionism and Catholics favoring nationalism.

According to the 2011 census, the population of Northern Ireland is 49% Protestants and other Christians, 45% Catholics, 6% non-believers and 1% non-religious. According to An overview of the life and times of the ARK in Northern Ireland, 33% of people in 2019 identified themselves as Unionists, 23% identified as Nationalists, and 39% identified as neither.
“Polls will show you that there is a developing sense of Northern Ireland’s national identity, but there is not a single song that encapsulates that or can be seen to encapsulate it. [it]”Paul Rose, who wrote Sports and Ireland: A History,” CNN Sports.
Northern Ireland captain Marissa Callaghan challenges Austrian Marina Georgieva to Euro 2022.

Northern Ireland has several national anthems used by different sports, as well as its varying team configurations, a holdover from how each sport has bridged this gap.

Each of these songs occupies a slightly different place in the political landscape of Northern Ireland.

In rugby, where the team plays as a united Ireland, the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland “Amhrán na bhFiann” (“Soldier’s Song”) is played at home matches, along with a specially commissioned, more inclusive “Ireland’s Call”, which is played at both home and away matches. matches.

'Imagine how good it could be': Northern Ireland footballers ready to seize the moment
For the Commonwealth Games, the anthem for Northern Ireland is “Londonderry Air”, and for football, the anthem “God Save the Queen” with its associations with british royal family – associated with the unionist tradition.
“You know, it’s pretty sad. Northern Ireland doesn’t really have an identity of its own.” – Northern Ireland Captain Marissa Callaghan said in a documentary last year.

“As a Catholic player, unfortunately I don’t have the experience to stand up straight and sing the anthem as loud as you can.

“But that doesn’t get rid of pride, passion, and what it means to put on a green shirt. Someone has to think outside the box, right? And be brave enough to move forward.”

“What will happen to international sport in Ireland?”

Historically, every major sport has had its place in the landscape of Northern Ireland.

“The creation of the modern sporting world happened in the 19th century … And when it happened, Ireland was not divided,” says Rose.

When Northern Ireland was officially established on May 3, 1921, following the Irish War of Independence, the athletics, rugby and football teams represented the entire island.

“The question immediately arose of what would happen to international sport in Ireland,” says Rose. “And it varies from sport to sport.”

The Irish Football Association (IFA) was and remains based in Belfast, the historical center of the game where it first appeared in Ireland.

The history of the Northern Ireland football team is complex.

Unlike rugby, whose governing body was based in Dublin and whose structures allowed for greater regional autonomy, football split in two with the formation of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) in Dublin in 1921.

Initially, the IFA and FAI fielded international teams under the name of Ireland, selecting players from north and south of the border, until the 1950s, when World Cup qualification requirements forced the teams to become completely separate.

Tensions flared during the “Troubles”, such as when riots overshadowed European Cup match between the border town of Dundalk and Linfield, a club closely associated with Unionism, in 1979.

But the success of the Northern Ireland team in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, which featured players from both communities, showed how football can sometimes bridge political divisions.

“We tend to focus on separation, it wasn’t just separation, it was also a game that tied them together,” says Rose.

These efforts to unify football intensified after the peace process.

In 2006, the Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club was awarded the Brussels International Supporters’ Award for supporting charities and their efforts to combat sectarianism.

Euro 2022

The Northern Ireland Women’s Football Association (NIWFA) is a much newer organization, formed in 1976 and women’s football in the country has grown exponentially since then.

A record crowd of 15,348 gathered at Windsor Park to watch the World Cup qualifier against England, while some 1,200 players now compete in six competitive divisions. his website.

Its growing popularity is in line with trends in women’s football in Europe. Euro 2022 has already set attendance records with close to 450,000 tickets sold before the start of the tournament and more than 91,000 fans gathered twice at Camp Nou to watch Barcelona Femeni earlier this year.

Jessica Hammond’s official song “Girl Got Game” was also released to support the team and raise awareness for women’s football.

Julie Nelson has scored the first goal for Northern Ireland at UEFA Women's EURO 2022.

Taking advantage of this, the Northern Ireland women’s team hopes to emulate the “spirit of 2016” that infiltrated the country when the men’s team qualified for Euro 2016.

“[We] saw the positive impact it had,” Callaghan said. Belfast Live.

The Northern Ireland women’s team qualified for a major tournament for the first time despite several long-term injuries to its key players.

The qualification was an impressive achievement for a team ranked 47th in the world with many team members. combining full time work and football.

Regardless of the outcome of Friday’s game, Northern Ireland will not qualify for the playoffs after losing to Norway and Austria in the first two matches, but the journey is making players optimistic about the future.

“Northern Ireland is an amazing place and we have great people,” Callaghan said. Belfast Live. “Sport, including football, has always been able to bring people together.”