Republic of Ireland go into this summer’s Euro 2012 tournament as overwhelming underdogs, with a group of Spain, Italy and Croatia to battle against. Despite Giovanni Trapattoni’s men being disregarded due to the quality of their Group C opponents, the Emerald Isle will look to take inspiration from previous positive results to have a chance of progressing through the pool. Thousands of Irish fans will purchase cheap flights to travel to Poland and Ukraine with hope, but these results should also prove that anything is possible.
Jack Charlton’s side were drawn against old enemies England in the group stages of the 1988 European Championships in West Germany, and were given little hope of recording a result. However, a loping Ray Houghton header after six minutes sent the travelling Irish fans into delirium and a strong defensive effort gave Ireland a momentous victory.
Republic of Ireland 1 Italy 0 – World Cup 1994
Again, faced with a tough group, Ireland qualified from Group E in the 1994 World Cup thanks to a unforgettable 1-0 win over European giants Italy in their opening game. Ray Houghton was again the man to provide the winner, with a sublime lofted shot beating Gianluca Pagliuca in the Azzurri goal. A draw with Norway sealed progression through to the knockout rounds, and Italy’s elimination, with stars such as Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi heading home early.
A last-gasp Robbie Keane strike in Nilgata gave the Republic of Ireland a point and a memorable result against Germany in the 2002 World Cup, with the draw eventually seeing the Irish side to progression through Group E. The likes of Keane, Shay Given and Damien Duff will look for similar results this summer, ten years on.
Just to get the Emerald Isle’s fans in the mood for Euro 2012 and the upcoming Group C fixtures against Spain, Italy and Croatia, Aer Lingus have released a new video encouraging the supporters to get behind Giovanni Trapattoni’s men….