Friday 28 April 2017

Remembering the summer when a nation held its breath

DVD 5:

A summer to remember for Ireland. The first experience of a World Cup exceeded all expectations with memories to last a lifetime created in a glorious few weeks in Italy.

Three draws in the group stages varied in quality with dramatic equalisers from Kevin Sheedy and Niall Quinn, against England and the Netherlands respectively, bringing Ireland into the knockout stages. And then came Romania on a sunny afternoon in Genoa, where Packie Bonner saved Daniel Timofte's spot kick in the shoot-out and David O'Leary stepped up to send a nation into a frenzy.

Toto Schillachi brought an abrupt end to the fairytale at the quarter-final stage, but Jack Charlton's stars returned to a heroes welcome. A dramatic tournament continued without them, with controversy dogging the games at the business end.

Both semi-finals went to penalties with the hosts knocked out by Argentina in a bad-tempered clash, and Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle booking their place in a Pizza Hut ad via England's loss to West Germany -- with the tears of Paul Gascoigne the defining image.

Diego Maradona failed to make an impact in the final, with Argentina reduced to nine men as a penalty from Andreas Brehme delivered glory to the Germans in a tempestuous atmosphere.

The 15 titles in our fantastic collection

1. Germany 2006

2. Korea/Japan 2002

3. France 1998

4. USA 1994

5. Italy 1990

6. Mexico 1986

7. Spain 1982

8. Argentina 1978

9. Germany 1974

10. Mexico 1970

11. England 1966

12. Chile 1962

13. Sweden 1958

14. Switzerland 1954

15. Uruguay 1930

Irish Independent

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