Irish Soccer Team – 1990 World Cup

After finishing second to Spain in the qualification table Ireland were on their way to Italia 90. Ireland didn’t play the most attractive style of football in that tournament but the team as we have become accustomed to showed great heart and determination.

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In a group including Holland England and Egypt the Irish managed to advance without winning a single match and only scoring two goals Togel Singapore . A memorable one again against England , scored by Kevin Sheedy and a goal against the Dutch, another classic just for the expression on Packie Bonner’s face a now familiar sight but one which encompasses the team spirit, when he put all he had into a long punt upfield characteristic of how Ireland played, a poor clearance, a fortunate fumble, and a long leg of Niall Quinn sent the Irish into the Second Round.

The Second Round saw Ireland face Romania, again they were never going to do it the easy way. A tense nil nil draw and it came down to a penalty shoot out, could it be possible that a team in the world cup without winning a match and only scoring two goals could advance to the quarters, well as they say the rest is history.

With eight penalties taken and eight goals scored, up stepped Daniel Timofte. A firmly struck penalty to the keepers bottom right hand corner, Saved, Packie Bonner will always be remembered for that moment the greatest of his career, however although exhilarated you can almost see the realisation on his face that the job was only half done, it still rested on one mans shoulders to do the unthinkable. This man was David O’Leary and can anyone forget the commentators infamous words before the ball was struck. ‘The Nation holds its breath’ and for that one moment I really think it did, a re-spot of the ball, an eternity, a side footed shot to the keepers left, the keepers gone right, and ‘it’s there’. Ireland through to the World Cup Quarter Finals.

Next up were the Italians on there own turf, but first a more pressing matter, an audience with Pope John Paul II, this just added to the almost dream like occasion. I am sure people were asking themselves just that, was this a dream?

Well it wasn’t and Ireland lined up in a quarter final against a team which included legends such as Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Toto Schillaci, Roberto Baggio, the list in fact could include their starting eleven. Well as much is to say the dream ended that night but it was certainly not a nightmare. The Italians won the game 1-0, a blistering shot from Donadoni could only be parried by Bonner and unfortunately it landed at the feet of Toto Schillaci, a prolific goalscorer, who slotted it into the empty net.

The celebrations throughout Ireland in the pubs, homes and streets during that tournament will be hard to replicate and maybe only surpassed if Ireland actually win a World Cup. The homecoming just emphasised the great supporters this team has, undoubtedly the best in the world. It is said that Jack Charlton never had to buy another pint in Ireland after Italia ’90, it was always on the house, I can believe that, a more interesting anecdote is that he used to offer to buy the whole pub a pint and would pay for it by cheque as he knew the owner of the bar would not cash it instead opting to frame it on the wall. Whether true or not it just adds to the legend and character of Big Jack.

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