Italia '90 revisited: Ireland v England remembered, replayed and reimagined
After over 50 years of trying, countless near misses and downright injustices the Republic of Ireland are at their first World Cup.
It feels like an entirety of waiting since the draw was made putting Jack Charlton's boys in a group with England, Holland and Egypt but now the moment of truth has arrived.
We're finally going to compete on the biggest stage of the game, at the greatest sports event in the world and the national mood is merry, giddy and bordering on insane as three and a half million people collectively lose their minds. Bring it on!
Jack and the lads arrive in Malta, where qualification for the World Cup was sealed back in November to begin preparation for the tournament with some intense
drinking training and, of course, some Irish fans are already there to give them a proper welcome.
Meanwhile, back home, World Cup fever is taking hold.
"A young conman... tried to cash in on World Cup fever by stealing footballs" - Irish Independent.
The 17 year old stole the footballs on O'Connell Street in Dublin after offering to give the delivery man 'a hand' bringing the balls into the shop. He was caught selling them on nearby Henry Street 30 minutes later.
However, businesses realise World Cup Fever is set to reach epidemic levels, and are preparing accordingly.
Thursday June 7th
The threat of a thousand sick notes loom large, and employers are urged to take every step to fight it. Over in Sardinia, the locals get ready for an invasion of Irish and England fans."Italian police have imposed a blanket ban on alcohol in Cagliari for Monday's World Cup clash between the Republic of Ireland and England" - Irish Independent.
No drink will be sold in the city for 48 hours, and fans will have alcohol confiscated upon arrival on the island. Whatever about the prospect of taking on the world on the pitch, it looks like some Irish fans will have to do the unthinkable.However, most fans are more than willing to experience this historic clash dry. Over 12,000 Ireland fans are expected to be in Cagliari on Monday. No one's entirely sure where they're all getting the money from though.Meanwhile, back in Malta, the Irish team are taking every measure to avoid farmer's tan. Though several surely run the risk of being the first footballer ever to miss a World Cup finals match because of sunburn.
Friday June 8th
As game day approaches the Irish team arrive in Sardinia, but there's some bad news on the playing front.
Liverpool midfielder Ronnie Whelan will miss Ireland's opening game against England with a thigh injury and faces a fight to be fit for the remaining group games.
The Dubliner's absence is a blow to the team, but he remains defiant.
Thoughts now turn to Whelan's replacement in Ireland's midfield.
However, the bad news continues.
One of the best player's in the world is back in time to face Ireland. Poor Steve Staunton hasn't been the same since the news broke. When it rains it pours...The scale of Ireland's task really has been laid bare today.
Saturday June 9th
Outside the team, tension is rising in Sardinia as thousands of English and Irish fans arrive on the island.
The Italian police look like they can look after themselves though.
The Carabinieri are patrolling Cagliari's seafront with Uzi submachine guns, and won't need a second invitation to get further acquainted with some of the more unsavoury elements of the England fans.
However, Irish fans have much bigger concerns than Robocop police with Uzi's, far-right hooligans or even the prospect of watching the team lose at their first World Cup.
"Irish fans... are up in arms over wholesale 'ripoffs' at every street corner. Prices are increasing to outrageous levels." - Irish Independent.Sunday June 10th
There's just a day to go until Ireland's historic game with England, their first at the World Cup and a rematch of the opening game of Euro '88. England surely want revenge for that shock loss, Ireland must want further revenge for...well.
Anyway, tension is raised as some of the English press try inflame the situation.
This really is going to be a battle between bitterly opposed enemies. There's surely no love lost between these opposing set of players, right?Oh. Well, there's at least tension between the two managers.
"Big Jack told a press conference at Cagliari Airport that he would not name his team until 'one minute before or after' Bobby Robson names his eleven to face Ireland in the World Cup crunch game" - Irish Independent.
Jack's engaging in mind games with the beleaguered England coach, and the English press are in no doubt as to who's winning.
Monday June 11th
Match day is finally here, and the mood back home is a mixture of excitement, trepidation and pride. Everyone's making plans and emotion is running high, particularly with one well-known journalist.
Fans are just as excited, if not quite as emotional as Eamon.Over in Sardinia, almost 1,500 Irish fans on day trips arrive on the island ahead of the game, and some have shown serious dedication to be there.At the team hotel, Jack relaxes with some light reading.
And the player's have their say ahead the game.
One player is so confident he's not only predicting an Irish win, he's named the score.Despite Whelan's injury, and the quality of opposition, Irish player's confidence is perhaps justified and the side do go into the tournament on a good run of form.Meanwhile, back home, everyone's finalising their plans.
The RDS event features the match on big screens and live music, but all 6,000 tickets have been sold.
Dublin's busiest street is deserted on a summer Monday evening, apart from the photographer who drew the short straw to take this picture.
The pubs are packed.
And party mood is sweeping the nation. So if you've ever wanted to spontaneously break dance, or wear a giant monkey costume in a public, now's your chance.
There's also still time for a few more to jump on the bandwagon.
(Typical barstooler, obsessed with English teams). Bill and the lads are ready.
And Eamon's still emotional.
The team's are named.
The Irish fans in the Sant Elia Stadium are ready.
And so are the English fans.
Here we go, the wait is finally over and Ireland's first game ever at the World Cup is just about to kick off. How's your nerves? Hopefully we can get off to a good start.
Disaster. The Irish defence switch off and Lineker scores the most Lineker goal possible.
But England's goal is just too much for some to take.
Back in Italy, Ireland haven't mounted a rousing comeback yet, in fact, this is a pretty terrible game of football.
Ireland are half way towards losing their first ever game at the World Cup and the second half is going mostly the same as the first, bad football and a growing realisation Ireland might not get anything from the game.It's looking bad all round.Unfortunately for Lineker, unless something else happens in this game, people are going to be reminding him of his 'accident' for a long, long time.
With just 17 minutes left, it's looking unlikely Ireland are going to get anything from the game. Here comes another long kick from Bonner.
CUE ABSOLUTE BEDLAM.
Cheer up pal, there's not long go.
That's it, Kevin Sheedy's left foot earns Ireland a respectable, and valuable, point against the auld enemy in their first ever World Cup game.
Second round here we come, as long as dispatch Egypt on Sunday, which we definitely will.
But right now it's time to celebrate. We may have drawn the game, but on this occasion, given the magnitude of the fixture and who the opponent is, a draw is as good as a victory.
And it's not as if we're going to go on celebrating draws forever.
Mexican Waves are in full flow. (Kind of)
And the joy generated by this moral victory is too much to be contained within the confines of any building.
Let's take this party to the streets.
(This is why we can't have nice things).
And the heroes of the hour have their say.
Ireland's next game is in six days and hopefully it goes a lot smoother than tonight.
If we win – sorry, when we win – we're all but guaranteed a spot in the knock-out rounds. Imagine the celebrations then.
Up next: Ireland v Egypt and a certain pundit's reaction breaks the internet