Italia '90 revisited: Ireland v Romania, Timofte, Bonner and a piece of commentary to live for the ages 8 years ago

Italia '90 revisited: Ireland v Romania, Timofte, Bonner and a piece of commentary to live for the ages

We may have only scored two goals, but Ireland have made it to knock-out stages of their first World Cup.

After a moral victory over England, a grim draw against Egypt and a encouraging draw against European champions Holland, Ireland will now face Romania in Genoa on Monday.


Anything from this point is a bonus for the team and the Irish fans but, whisper it, we may have the edge over Romania, having beaten them last time we played.

A quarter-final against Italy in Rome could be on the cards.

But let's not jinx it.

Friday June 22nd


Holland"Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard reckon that Jack Charlton's army can take the World Cup knockout stages by storm" - Irish Independent.

Dutch players

Ah lads, we know you mean well but can you not just go back to patronising us? We're not used to this. Is there even a word in Irish for confidence?

Hopefully the Irish players aren't letting all this praise go to their heads.


player tweets

Saturday June 23rd

Back home, despite the confidence of the players and former opponents, many begin to realise this could be Ireland's last game at the World, prompting a rush to get to Genoa.

“Travel agents and airlines were working through the night last night in a desperate attempt to get enough planes to carry thousands of fans hoping to get to Genoa for Monday night’s showdown with the Romanians” - Irish Press.


8dbs5However, despite the exodus to Italy, one previously reliable method of securing travelling funds is suddenly cut off.Credit Union 2And the nation is plunged into mourning.


But, for the lucky ones in, and on their way to Genoa things are looking up.


"Yesterday, Genoa became the fifth Italian city to relax its World Cup alcohol ban, saying fears of hooligan violence had diminished." - Irish Press.


From a famine to a feast. Whether we win or lose against Romania, and no matter how far we progress in the tournament, travelling Irish fans can now enjoy an alcoholic beverage on matchday.

The best fans in the world will now have liquid aid to cheer on their heroes.

Let's just take a moment to reflect and appreciate that our Italian friends deem us mature enough to be served alcohol on matchdays.

celebrations 2We won't let you down, Italy.

Sunday June 24th

1"The nation is heading for a shutdown on Monday with the country in the grip of World Cup fever for Ireland's historic second-round match with Romania" - Irish Independent.

With the match to kick-off at 4pm Irish time, the first time a game involving Ireland has being played during office hours, employers fear mass work stoppages throughout the country.

World Cup fever has gripped the nation to the extent that the nation's power brokers are worried.

7tlwkThe decision rests with one man.


But the Minister for Labour won't be moved.

be4nxAnd either will his boss.

Employers say they'll make allowances for people to see the game though, rearranging shifts, setting up TVs in workplaces and even finishing up early. One major employer goes one further, and actually give their 1,100 employees the day off.


Monday June 25th

The big day is here and Jack is already on the attack.

`4"Jack Charlton last night lashed out against the British media, accusing them of trying to 'dig up dirt' against the Irish team and of putting increased pressure on him and his players" - Irish Press.

If there's two things Jack doesn't like it's the coverage of the Irish team by some elements of the British media, and Eamon Dunphy.

tabloid tweets3

But this is set to be a dramatic and historic day, and it'll take more than a few provocative headlines to affect the players.

5"Packie Bonner has no fears about being put on the spot to keep Ireland in the World Cup finals this evening – even though the last time he faced a penalty shoot-out he was beaten nine times out of ten." - Irish Independent.

The big man is ready to save the day during a penalty shoot-out, hopefully it doesn't come to that though.

Over in Genoa, fans are already filling up the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Of the 31,000 or so in attendance, around two third are Irish.

World Cup 1990 Irish fans look on during the game against Romania Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The pubs are filling up back home, streets are being deserted and the party mood begins to take over. Giant animal costumes are out in force once again.


The starting line ups are named.

ireland romania teams

And an outcast makes his return.

6eydsThe lads get straight to work identifying Romania's weak-spot, which happens to be Ireland's most dangerous weapon: the high ball.



Here we go then, it's just the biggest game in the history of Irish football, nothing to be worried about.

The Match

We've seen this film before. After 270 of minutes of Irish World Cup action, no-one is surprised, even the most casual of band-wagoner, that there's not a lot happening in the match.

This is a war of attrition, briefly lit up by the number 10 in the yellow jersey.

Hagi tweets

But otherwise, this is petering out as half-time approaches. The weather looks absolutely sweltering in Genoa.


sheedy save

Kevin Sheedy has come closer than anyone to scoring, after Romania had dominated the opening exchanges. This one could go all the way between two evenly matched teams.

As the second half begins, you could cut the tension back home with a knife.


Well, you could amongst those not dressed as giant chickens or gorillas. For the rest of us, this will be a nail-biting second-half. If we exit now, there's no shame, having got out of a tricky group, but we're so close to achieving a staggering feat.

Ireland, the country that had never previously qualified for the World Cup, that has spent decades in the footballing wilderness is just 45 minutes from joining the elite of the world game in the final eight.

But the game ticks towards full-time and the players look sapped of energy. This could be going all the way to penalties.7Arsenal's David O'Leary finally gets to play at a World Cup.

O'Leary tweets 1

But penalties are becoming increasingly likely, the game is at walking pace and both sides look prepared to take their chance from the spot.b6nr7

wgjsuThe good news is that Ireland has never taken part in a penalty shoot-out, so we've no bad experiences from the spot. And we're shooting into the Irish end, which was always going to happen, as the stadium is a sea of green.

But we have to take what positives we can, especially as the Romanians will be shooting first.


Jack has a few final words for his players.


And it works because the standard of penalties are pretty high.


It's 4-4 and a 100% success rate from the spot. Up next, Daniel Timofte...bonner tweet


Holy s***, Bonner saved it! It's all come down to this, Ireland are a kick away from the last eight of the World Cup and a quarter-final in Rome, possibly against the hosts.


This is the biggest moment in Irish sporting history. Who's going to step up and take the decisive kick.

O'Leary penalty tweetsO'Leary makes the long walk to the penalty spot and the tension is incredible.


The whole country is watching, everything has come to a halt.


The nation holds it's breath...


celebrations relief 2 7 fan crying

We've done it!

Ireland are through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Back in RTE, the lads are only delighted.  

And Bill has an important announcement.


But we reckon most of the 2.5 million Irish people watching the watch on RTE won't mind missing Alf for one night.

scenesscenes 3

With almost the entire adult population having had a drink or two, there's a desperate lack of designated drivers, forcing some to take drastic measures.

scenes 4

In Madrid, when Real win a trophy, the team have a parade though Plaza de Cibeles, and around the beautiful neo-classical Cibeles fountain.

The German's have the Brandenburg Gate and England Trafalgar Square.

In Ireland though, only one place will suffice to hold a mass celebration. The Walkinstown roundabout.


walkinstown 1


There's never been such an outpouring of joy. In fact, not only is this the best moment ever in Irish football and sporting history, it's probably the best moment ever in the history of the country.

Just think back over all the crap times Ireland has endured, or look at how happy this lad is.


The heroes of the hour have their say.

player tweets3

Ireland continue to break records.

opta tweets

This is a wonderful moment for the fans, the team and the country. We shouldn't be surprised if this all leads to an economic boom and imagine how good our football team will be in the future due to all this euphoria.

But that's all for another day. The adventure continues, most likely against the hosts, and favourites, Italy. Right now is time for celebrations.

See you in Rome on Saturday.