Italia '90 revisited: Ireland play Egypt and Eamon Dunphy's reaction causes a social media meltdown 8 years ago

Italia '90 revisited: Ireland play Egypt and Eamon Dunphy's reaction causes a social media meltdown

The nation is still buzzing after Ireland's 1-1 draw against England. We sure know how to celebrate a draw.

After trailing for most of the game, Jack Charlton's team managed to rescue a result thanks to Kevin Sheedy's brilliant strike. Ireland will be on track for the second round, once group minnows Egypt are safely dispatched on Sunday.


The sun's shining, back home and especially in Italy, we've just got one over the auld enemy and we're excelling in the biggest sporting event in the world. Let's just savour the moment and not worry about those hapless Egyptians.

The Irish team is even making an impact with Italians.

Tuesday June 12th

"The England-Ireland match on Monday drew a television audience of 14.2 million fans in Italy, making it the second most watched game at the World Cup so far." - Irish Press.


Wow, that's an incredible amount of people, and only the host nation's opening game was watched by more Italians. What did they make of the game though?


It's hard to find anyone who can translate this but the lad in the chipper gives it a go and he reckons this daily Italian sport newspaper reckons we've a great bunch of fans, and our team give it a go.

It's possible a large proportion of Italians were only tuning in to see one player though.


Italian tweets

For God's sake, Tony Cascarino's Irish, some of you Italians are getting as bad as the British red tops at this rate. He may have been born and raised in England, supported them at the last World Cup, and not hold an Irish passport, but he's Irish.

Just because his surname is Italian, and he looks Italian, you all think he's Italian. His grandfather is Irish, making him fully, 100% eligible to play for Ireland, so that settles that.

This is a non-issue, case closed, now let's never speak of it again.


Wednesday June 13th

Egypt Holland"Egypt stunned the mighty Holland and the rest of the soccer world in Palermo last night…. The European Champions (were) held to a 1-1 draw by a team the pundits dared to call the minnows of Group F." - Irish Independent.

What the f***?! Apparently Egypt were like a mirror image of the Irish team. It's not meant to be like this, they're supposed to be the whipping boys. Is it possible they aren't as bad as we thought. Should we be worried?

Egypt tweets

That's a relief, it was just an off-day for the Dutch, Egypt had their day in the sun and normal service will resume on Sunday. Second round here we come.


Thursday June 14th

Back at home, travel companies are busy advertising trips to what will be hopefully be Ireland's first victory at the World Cup.


And fans scramble to find the money to be part of what will be a historic day in Irish sport. Which can only mean one thing.

Credit Union tweets 2

Back at home, as the game is on Sunday, fans are worried about going into work with the mother of all hangovers on Monday morning.


xjvgnWhile others try to raise funds for what will be the mother of all drinking sessions.


Friday June 15th

Meanwhile, back in Italy, Sicily is under siege from an invading force. The Mediterranean island has been invaded and occupied many times in its history, from the Greeks to the Arabs, the Normans to Napoleon, up to the Allied forces in World War II.

And now another band of fearless warriors have landed in Palermo. Jack's Army.

Ireland fans before the match 11/6/1990

However, the natives have nothing to fear, as the Irish fans just want to have a good time, cheer on their team and avoid being severely sunburnt.

In fact, right now probably nothing could spoil their fun.


"What was to have been a trip to one of the country's most colourful festivals - Corpus Cristi - was cancelled after Mafia hitmen gunned down an architect and a bus driver with alleged links to the underworld." - Irish Independent.

Some Irish fans' day out is ruined and they aren't happy, not happy at all.


Saturday June 16th

However, after a day spoiled by the Mafia, Irish fans have something to cheer on the eve of the Egypt clash.


Brilliant news, Whelan's fit to play his first game in eight weeks. That's if Jack picks him. However, the Ireland manager is giving nothing away, except that he's confident we're going to beat Egypt.


"A British scribe wondered if we could expect to see a better game than last Monday's... Jack responded with contempt. 'I've no idea' he snapped. 'It might bore the arse off you. I can't say.'" - Irish Independent.

Jack says he's "really not interested" in the problems Egypt may or may not pose Ireland, but conceded that "the lad with the beard" is a good player.

Charlton tweets

Is Charlton concerned by the potential bad PR from his abrasive style?


No, definitely not.

Sunday June 17th

Here we go again, game day is here and this time there isn't the tension that surrounded the England game. The sun is shining, the pubs are filling up and we're just hours away from what will likely be our first win at the World Cup.

Once again emotions are running high for one particular high-profile journalist and former Ireland international.


Over in Palermo, the Irish fans have arrived in their droves for the big game.


"The temperature here in Palermo is in the 90s and so is the crack. But the biggest news is the Mafia no longer control Sicily as the Murphia have now taken over." - Irish Independent.

La Costa Nostra may have won the earlier battle, but the Irish are winning the war and have taken over the island. However, the Mafia strike back on game day, hitting the Irish fans where it hurts most.

fan tweets

The Mafia can spoil the Irish fans day out, and rip them off, but they'll never break their spirit and the stadium is a sea of green.

Republic of Ireland World Cup 1990 Ireland fans Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The teams are named.11

Jack names an unchanged team, following that old adage that you should never change a winning team. Even if that win was a moral victory, rather than an actual victory.12It's safe to say none of these players are household names in Ireland, but that doesn't stop Irish fans coining songs about them.

13The Irish team are on the pitch and pose for their pre-match team picture.

World Cup 1990 Republic of Ireland vs Egypt The Ireland team ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

And the Egyptian fans are in good voice, despite being just moments from a trashing.

17 Jun 1990: General view of Egyptian supporters during the World Cup match against Eire held at the Della Favorita Stadium in Palermo, Italy. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Here we go, this should be fun.


The Match


So far, not so good. Egypt are showing they're no pushovers and Ireland are struggling to create anything of note.


first half tweets

So, far these pesky Egyptians aren't playing along with the narrative. They're meant to be minnows! Cannon fodder, and here they are thwarting us, and doing it by playing us at our game!


Sheedy penalty shoutIrish fans would be up in arms, in the stadium, and back in the pubs, but this game is so terrible most have gone to the bar.

After the mercy of a half-time break, the game restarts and the torture continues.

second half tweets

But can Ireland get a late winner, change the national mood in the process and securing a spot in the second round?

Sheedy shot

No, and the sheer awfulness of the game is too much for some to take.

fan crying


The full-time whistle is a both blessing and a curse. It was only right to show mercy and end the torture of the game, but we now have a bigger problem.

We have to get a result against Holland in our final game in four days.

Holland, the European Champions. Holland, the team who knocked us out of the the Euros two years ago. Holland, the team featuring Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten. Up against Mick McF******Carthy!

We're doomed.

On RTE, Bill and the lads give for their reaction:

Dunphy's coming down strong on Charlton's tactics, saying he's "embarrassed and ashamed" of the performance and talks about Ireland's great history in producing skillfull footballers. But Eamon's not finished yet, not by a long shot.

Dunphy's really p***** off. Will the disgruntled Irish public agree with him? k8lo9 With a large proportion of people in pubs watching the game, Dunphy's words seems to have been misconstrued as the footage of him dropping his pen is shared over and over again. Pen

And the internet is sent into overload.

This story has taken a dark turn.

Monday June 18th

dunphy warpath“‘Rubbish”, repeated Eamon… “Egypt are rubbish. They are playing like amateurs. We should be beating them 6-0. The Irish should be ashamed of themselves…. Cowardly. All that space and we are wasting it.’” - Irish Independent.

The break of day hasn't brought clearer heads. Dunphy's comments, which have been largely misconstrued, have reverberated throughout Ireland.dunphy complaints Over in Palermo, the players and Charlton have their say on the issue and the disappointing draw.

Players-tweets3And Jack has his say on Egypt's tactics. charlton tweets 2Before firing back at Dunphy.

Dunphy is on his way to Italy, where a showdown with the Ireland boss beckons.

Meanwhile, the team are left in a precarious position and the worst case scenario before the game. We have to get a result against one of the best teams in the world or we'll be going home early.

These are dark crying