From Pavarotti to Paul Gascoigne's tears, everyone has a memory of Italia 90 that defines the tournament.

But for the Republic of Ireland, the tournament is remembered for the nation achieving their best-ever finish in the competition at their first attempt, as Jack Charlton guided his team to the quarter-final stage and a famous meeting against the hosts.

Charlton was part of England's World cup winning squad in 1966, and the tournament began for the Republic of Ireland with a meeting against Bobby Robson's England in Cagliari. Gary Lineker opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes, but an equaliser from Kevin Sheedy with less than 20 minutes remaining ensured both sides would start the group with a point. The side then travelled to Palermo to take on Egypt, and a 0-0 draw followed in a largely forgettable contest.

With qualification from the group very much in the balance, Ireland remained in Palermo ahead of their third match against the Netherlands. Ruud Gullit gave the Dutch the lead early on, but the resilience and character of the Irish side was once again evident as Niall Quinn equalised midway through the 2nd half. England defeated Egypt, and Ireland progressed to the knock-out stages.

A talented Romanian side awaited Charlton's squad in the last 16, and with players such as Florin Răducioiu and Gheorghe Hagi lining-up for the opposition, it was a formidable test. However, the match remained goalless after 120 minutes, and the fine line between success and failure would be decided by a penalty shoot-out in Genoa. Goalkeeper Packie Bonner was the hero, saving from substitute Daniel Timofte to allow David O'Leary to score the decisive spot-kick.

The dream would end for Charlton and his side at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, as a goal from the legendary Toto Schillaci just before half-time eventually proved to be the difference between the two nations. Jack Charlton sadly passed away earlier this year, and it was striker Niall Quinn who articulated his influence on the national team in his tribute to his former manager. "Jack Charlton led the band,” he said. “He brought us, as players and fans, to places we never thought possible beforehand and gave us so many precious moments. He changed lives. For his players, he gave us the best days of our lives.”

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