Sunday 25 September 2016

The Rubberbandits summed up the mood of the nation with a two-word tweet

Sasha Brady

Published 23/06/2016 | 11:38

Fans go wild in Lille after Robbie Brady scores for Ireland Photo: Arthur Carron and Inpho
Fans go wild in Lille after Robbie Brady scores for Ireland Photo: Arthur Carron and Inpho

The Rubberbandits summed up the mood of the nation, after Ireland made history last night by reaching the knockout stages of the Euros for the first time, with a good-humoured "F*ck Schillaci" tweet.

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His name is engraved in the memory of every football fan in the country.

Even those who are too young to remember Italia '90 will know the name 'Toto' Schillaci.

His goal, which knocked Ireland out of the 1990 World Cup at the quarter-final stage, made him the villain of Irish sporting folklore.

We'd been riding on a wave of resurgent national pride when we met Italy in the quarter finals. We'd just beaten Romania on penalties. Jack's Army were going all the way. We thought nothing could stop us... and then Schillaci did.

Mention his name in any Irish bar and you're likely to get an litany of anecdotes relating to 1990 and even a mention of Colm Meaney's 'F*ck Schillaci' t-shirt from the movie The Van.

Colm Meaney in The Van.
Colm Meaney in The Van.

Even though we took our revenge four years later by defeating the Azzuri at the Giant's Stadium in New Jersey, we still couldn't shake off the memory of Italia 90 and Schillaci.

But after defeating Italy on Wednesday night and making it through to the knockout stages of the Euros for the first time in history, I think we can all say "F*ck Schillaci" with a smile on our faces.

Italia '90 hero Toto Schillaci with former Ireland star Ray
Houghton, who scored the winner against Italy at US '94, in
Dublin 2009
Italia '90 hero Toto Schillaci with former Ireland star Ray Houghton, who scored the winner against Italy at US '94, in Dublin 2009

The Rubberbandits tweet was met with plenty of laughs as people relived the glory of Italia '90 all over again.

Poor Schillaci, we won't ever let him forget that he broke our hearts 26 years ago.

All is forgiven now... by Sunday we'll be chanting "F**k Henry".

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