Irish Soccer Team – 1994 World Cup

The World Cup USA 94 was a heated affair both on and off the pitch. The sweltering heat had the entire Irish team running for refreshments during the match never mind at half time and many most notably Stan Staunton had turned beetroot in colour.

The Irish had only qualified for the Finals after a late Alan McLaughlin goal against Northern Ireland in Windsor Park. The match probably one best forgotten due to its sectarian atmosphere, was aptly portrayed by Marie Jones’ in ‘A Night in November’. However Ireland marched on after the 1-1 draw due to the fact that Spain had beaten Denmark that same night.

USA 94 was a mixed tournament on and off the field for Ireland and it could be said that this was the case for football in general. It saw the demise of one of the legends of world football Diego Maradonna. He was sent home after failing a drugs test which would be the last time we would see the Argentinean maestro on the world stage. Of much greater magnitude was the fate of a Colombian defender Escobar. Colombia who had been considered a dark horse to go all the way in the tournament were tamely knocked out in the group stages. Escobar had scored an own goal against the United States, a match they lost 2-1. Tragically he paid for this with his life ten days later when he was shot outside a pub in a Medellin suburb, Colombia.

Ireland was drawn in a group with Italy, Mexico and Norway. Their วิธีสมัคร ufabet first match was against Italy their victors four years previously. In the Giants Stadium the Irish team walked tall as they recorded their first ever victory in the World Cup Finals. Yet another memorable day as Ray Houghton chests down a poor header from Franco Baresi, adjusts his feet, swings a left foot, the ball loops over Gianluca Pagliuca and dips under the bar and into the net. The goal celebration says it all and determination allowed the Irish to shut out the Italians and hold on to a one nil victory.

Later on that day Irish fans and indeed the players would learn of the events at home which would overshadow that great occasion. Loyalist paramilitaries had gone into a pub full of people watching the Italy, Ireland match in Loughinisland, spraying the pub with bullets and in turn killing 6 people watching a football match. Players and fans alike were devastated as it marked another low point in Irish History and yet another atrocity added to the long list, carried out by both sides.

However the football continued and Ireland’s next match was against Mexico, a decent side whic