Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland face Italy on Wednesday in their final group-stage match at Euro 2016.
The Republic need to claim only their third ever victory over the Azzurri to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Ahead of the Group D clash in Lille, we look back at five previous encounters between the nations.
Italy 1 Republic of Ireland 0 (Rome, World Cup quarter-final, June 30 1990)
It was no easy task for the host country to put an end to Jack Charlton side’s surprising campaign, as Ireland had made the quarter-finals without winning any match inside 90 minutes. The Green Army had finished second in their group, drawing all three games, before beating Romania on penalties in a tense last-16 clash. However, their attacking issues led to their elimination by the Azzurri, as Niall Quinn wasted an early chance and they were unable to muster further opportunities after Salvatore Schillaci’s strike. The Sicilian forward bagged six goals in the competition, claiming the Golden Boot, but Italy made a semi-final exit at the hands of Argentina.
Italy 0 Republic of Ireland 1 (East Rutherford, World Cup group stage, June 18 1994)
Ireland took their revenge only four years later, defeating Italy for the first time ever in New Jersey. The green sea of Ireland fans at Giants Stadium certainly helped Charlton’s men make a strong start to the match, as Ray Houghton made the most of a rare Franco Baresi mistake to fire a spectacular left-footed shot over the keeper. The Scotland-born midfielder was overjoyed and his winner proved vital to earning Ireland second spot in an incredibly hard-fought Group E, in which all sides finished level on points. The result became even more remarkable with the benefit of hindsight, as Italy would make the final, where they lost to Brazil.
Italy 1 Republic of Ireland 1 (Bari, World Cup qualifier, April 1 2009)
Italian Giovanni Trapattoni, as coach of Ireland, helped deny his home country as Robbie Keane scored a last-gasp equaliser to earn the Irish a point against their 10-man opponents. Despite losing Giampaolo Pazzini to a red card after just three minutes for his challenge on John O’Shea, the Azzurri looked poised to claim all three points thanks to Vincenzo Iaquinta’s early goal. However, they had to settle for a draw when, with three minutes left, then-Tottenham striker Keane collected a long ball from goalkeeper Shay Given and stabbed it home.
Ireland 2 Italy 2 (Dublin, World Cup qualifier, October 10 2009)
This time it was Italy who rescued a point in the closing minutes of an entertaining draw, with Alberto Gilardino scoring the equaliser and earning the Azzurri a place at the World Cup finals in South Africa. Glenn Whelan had put the Green Army ahead after seven minutes with a stunning long-range shot, with Mauro Camoranesi levelling with a header from a corner. An 87th-minute goal from Sean St Ledger could have given Ireland the three points, but Italy fought back once again. Trapattoni’s men finished the group in second place, but fell to France in the play-offs.
Italy 2 Republic of Ireland 0 (Poznan, European Championship, June 18 2012)
Ireland have already faced Italy at a European Championship, back in 2012, when they were drawn in a tough group together with Croatia and Spain - with Italy and Spain both going on to reach the final. The two sides met in the last round of group games, with Ireland already out of the tournament due to defeats in their opening two games. Italy needed to win to make the quarter-finals and they did so thanks to goals from Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli, with their rivals for second spot Croatia slipping up to Spain in the other match.