Friday 9 December 2016

Kevin Moran exclusive: Make no mistake, we were the real winners against England

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Italia 90, we will be reliving all the action from that memorable World Cup

Published 12/06/2015 | 12:00

Kevin Sheedy and Kevin Moran, Republic of Ireland, in action against Steve Bull, England. Republic of Ireland v England, 1990 World Cup Finals, Italy. Soccer. Picture credit; Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Kevin Sheedy and Kevin Moran, Republic of Ireland, in action against Steve Bull, England. Republic of Ireland v England, 1990 World Cup Finals, Italy. Soccer. Picture credit; Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

IT MAY have ended a 1-1 draw but don't you believe it — the victory was with the Irish in Cagliari last night.

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And what a night it was if you leave out those first ten minutes when we flickered at the back like a candle in the wind.

We started slowly as a team but our defence must take the blame for what happened even though Gary Lineker will I'm sure be first to admit he knew little about what he was doing.

We may have begun like timid rabbits but we finished like hungry lions, thirsty for victory and mauling the English carcase in every sector of the field.

I can tell you they were a frustrated lot leaving the Sant Elia stadium last night.

They had a light hearted go at us for not allowing them play with our style, but anyone who saw last night’s game and the corresponding one in Stuttgart two years ago will know there is a more basic difference between the two sides.

When we scored through Ray Houghton in Germany we had the bottle to keep them underfoot for the rest of the game.

They didn't have the same character in their ranks tonight. They got a dream start but the goal woke us up and spurred us onto even greater achievements.

After all the preparation of the past two weeks, it was great to be the moral winners of this clash of Cagliari, and believe me we want to win many more before we say arrivederci to Italia '90.

Take it from me, our supporters will be able to hoist the green, white and gold, with pride before we say goodbye to this tournament.

And what supporters they are. Given the English lads were saying they were brilliant because they back us so well not just when we are winning but when the chips are down too.

It is all about what we can achieve in Palermo over the next eleven days that matters.

I am particularly sorry for Jack. He had everything planned down to the finest detail and that moment in the eighth minute undid the weeks and months of preparation.

The game was never going to be a classic, but when the thunder and lightning and pouring rain arrived in the second half, it made our task all the easier, because it killed off the wind and allowed us to play.

All the good football in the game came from us, and we showed we weren't just kick and rush, we had a chance to knock it around a bit as well.

It’s lovely to be part of this Irish set-up and after tonight's great fight-back, I can't help getting the feeling once again that somebody up there likes us.

I was pleased with my own performance once I settled down. At this level I suppose a defender judges how well he does by the damage or otherwise by the man he is marking perpetrates.

When Peter Beardsley was taken off by Bobby Robson I knew I had done my job for Jack on him. I know Mick McCarthy was annoyed that Gary Lineker got in behind him for the goal.

He put his hand up and accepted he was at fault in the dressing room, but otherwise be didn't give the last World Cup's Golden Boot a smell of the ball.

Our two full backs came through with flying colours. I was particularly pleased for Chris Morris, who has the Indian sign on John Barnes at this stage of their international meetings. John did little or nothing in Stuttgart and despite all the promises of what he could do here, Chris came out a clear-cut winner once again. But as Jack says, we have our own special soccer elixir to humble even the mightiest.

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