Italia '90 revisited: Ireland v England remembered, replayed and reimagined 8 years ago

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!

The build-up...

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.

DID Electrical

Thursday June 7th

The threat of a thousand sick notes loom large, and employers are urged to take every step to fight it. FIE tweetsOver in Sardinia, the locals get ready for an invasion of Irish and England fans.Drink clampdown"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.27kk9However, 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.Credit Union tweetsMeanwhile, 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.

Pre World Cup Republic of Ireland 1990 Irish team sunbathing Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Friday June 8th

As game day approaches the Irish team arrive in Sardinia, but there's some bad news on the playing front.





Whelan"Ronnie Whelan tried to conceal his feelings, but the crushing sense of disappointment was etched on his face" - Irish Independent.

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...zmt3xhoaezThe 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.

Eng Fans"About 100 drunken English fans clashed with police in the centre of Cagliari" - Irish Independent.

The Italian police look like they can look after themselves though.

Protests All Over Italy Against The G8 Summit

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 tweetsSunday 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.qpiug
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?iclhwOh. 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.

Robson-tweets1Some of the Irish press aren't quite as fervent.h4s5pMeanwhile, the Irish team take a well-earned break. There's not long to go.

Pre World Cup, Turkey. 1990 Players take a rest during training Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

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.Fansrpsd6Over 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.bw8nbAt the team hotel, Jack relaxes with some light reading.

World Cup 1990 Jack Charlton  ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

And the player's have their say ahead the game.

Players' tweetsOne player is so confident he's not only predicting an Irish win, he's named the score.r5aniDespite 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.3l3a5Meanwhile, back home, everyone's finalising their plans.

RDS1"It's all systems go for the giant video version of tonight's big match at the Simmonscourt Pavilion at the RDS in Ballsbridge" - Irish Independent.

The RDS event features the match on big screens and live music, but all 6,000 tickets have been sold.

i8b222But it doesn't really matter where you watch, just get yourself in front of a television.

Jury's Hotel World Cup 1990 © INPHO/James Meehan Even if you have to go to the jacks you don't want to miss a kick

Dublin's busiest street is deserted on a summer Monday evening, apart from the photographer who drew the short straw to take this picture.

O'Connell street

The pubs are packed.

World Cup 11/6/90 Republic of Ireland vs England Fans watch the game in Toners Bar, Dublin Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Meehan The tension mounts in Toners in Dublin (and every other pub and home across the country)

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.


team tweet

The Irish fans in the Sant Elia Stadium are ready.

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

And so are the English fans.

English football supporters display a provocative bollocks slogan to their Union Jack flag during their Group F match against the Republic of Ireland during the 1990 FIFA World Cup on 11 June 1990 at the Sant Elia Stadium in Cagliari, Italy. The match resulted in a 1-1 draw .(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

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.

The MatchLineker goalEngland score

Disaster. The Irish defence switch off and Lineker scores the most Lineker goal possible.


Lineker goal tweets1

But England's goal is just too much for some to take.

fan crying


Back in Italy, Ireland haven't mounted a rousing comeback yet, in fact, this is a pretty terrible game of football.


World Cup Republic of Ireland vs England 1990 Paul Gascoigne rubs Chris Morris' head Mandatory Credit ©INPHO

First half tweetsIreland 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.idfjxIt's looking bad all round.Lineker tweetsUnfortunately 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.



Sheedy celebrations




Sheedy goal tweetsIreland are level, but Sheedy's goal is too much for some to take.

fan crying

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.

Players' post game tweetsThe players will probably head straight to their beds (maybe), but for the rest of us, over in Sardinia and back home, the celebrations continue.

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