The winner of this Play Off over two legs will qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals in Korea and Japan. The second leg will be Tehran on Thursday, 15 November at 1400 GMT when a crowd of 120,000 is expected.
Mick McCarthy's side are unbeaten in 15 Internationals - 9 wins, 6 draws. Their last defeat was 2-1, away to Scotland in a Friendly on 30 May, 2000.
Iran have won their last two - the Play Off legs against UAE. They've been beaten once in their last ten - all World Cup Qualifying Internationals.
The Republic of Ireland have a play-off jinx to overcome. They have lost four out of four. The first was 36 years ago to the day (matchday) - 10 November, 1965 - when Spain won 1-0 in Paris in the World Cup. The second resulted in a 2-0 defeat by Holland at Anfield on 13 December, 1995 in the European Championship - Jack Charlton's last match in charge. In Brussels on 15 November, 1997, the Republic lost the Play-Off 2nd leg 2-1 to Belgium, after drawing 1-1 in Dublin. Most recently, the European Championship Play Off against Turkey on 14 and 17 November, 1999 was lost on the away goal rule. The Republic drew 1-1 at Lansdowne Road, and then drew the away leg 0-0.
Iran's record on European soil is unimpressive. Since 1970 they've played 13 games, losing 8 and drawing 4. Their only victory was 3-4 in their most recent match, a friendly against Slovakia.
HEAD TO HEAD
HEAD TO HEAD NOTES
Luton manager Joe Kinnear played in the only previous meeting between these two. Mick Leech and Don Givens scored in the 2-1 win in Recife. The match for the Independence Cup ended a five year winless streak.
The Republic of Ireland finished runners-up in the World Cup Qualifying Group 2. They collected 24 points from their ten games - trailing Portugal on goal difference. Mick McCarthy's team were unbeaten - winning seven and drawing three, scoring 23 and conceding 5.
Iran won Group 2 in the First AFC Round of World Cup qualifying. They were then runners-up in Group A of the Second Round. They picked up 10 points from 8 matches in this second group, trailing Saudi Arabia by 2 points. Iran won 4 , drew 3 and lost 1, scoring 15, conceding 10.
Iran then played United Arab Emirates over two legs in a Play Off. They won the home leg 1-0 on 25 October and 0-3 in the away leg on 31 October.
The Republic have won four and drawn one of their five home games in World Cup Qualifying, scoring 11 and conceding 2. Iran have won 2, drawn 2 and lost 1 of their last five away Qualifying matches, scoring 8 and conceding 2.