The Republic of Ireland have won only twice in 11 games against Italy, but as the sides meet in their final UEFA EURO 2012 Group C game, they can take heart from what happened 18 years ago to the day.
• Ireland's campaign is already over following defeats by Croatia (1-3) and Spain (0-4), while Italy have drawn 1-1 against both Spain and Croatia and need three points to have any chance of staying in the competition.
• Italy have to win and hope the Croatia-Spain game does not finish in a draw of 2-2 or more. If the other game finishes 1-1 they must win by 3-1 or better to finish above Croatia or better than 4-0 to top the group. If the other game finishes goalless, an Italy win would take them through as group winners. Ireland are out but will finish third with a win.
• Italy's record in 11 games against Ireland reads W7 D2 L2; their six competitive fixtures have ended W3 D2 L1. The teams have twice met in final tournaments, winning one game apiece. However, Italy have not beaten Ireland in their last three competitive meetings, and lost 2-0 in their most recent friendly encounter, in Liege on 7 June 2011.
• Irish fans, meanwhile, will remember that on 18 June 1994 – 18 years to the day before this encounter – Jack Charlton's side broke a run of six straight defeats by Italy at the FIFA World Cup finals in the United States, with Ray Houghton's goal (11) securing a 1-0 win.
• The nations first met on 21 March 1926, with Italy prevailing 3-0 (Baloncieri 13, Magnozzi 36, Bernardini 44) at the old Juventus stadium on the Corso Marsiglia in Turin.
• Modern-time encounters began 44 years later in the 1972 UEFA European Championship qualifiers. In Florence on 8 December 1970 , Italy won 3-0 again (De Sisti 22pen, Boninsegna 42, Prati 84) on target. The return in Dublin on 10 May 1971 yielded a third Italian victory, this time 2-1 (Conway 23; Boninsegna 15, Prati 59). Jimmy Conway had the honour of hitting the first Irish goal against Italy.
• Enzo Bearzot's world champions then visited Dalymount Park in Dublin for a friendly on 5 February 1985, winning 2-1 (Waddock 53; Rossi 5pen, Altobelli 18).
• A fifth straight Italian win put an end to the Republic's 1990 World Cup campaign in the quarter-finals.
• The teams then met twice in the USA, with the Foxboro Stadium in Boston the venue for a US Cup game on 4 June 1992. Arrigo Sacchi's team won 2-0 (Signori 17, Costacurta 67pen) – it was their sixth successive win against Ireland.
• After the 1994 World Cup, it was over a decade passed before the teams met again on 17 August 2005 in Dublin, when Marcello Lippi's team beat Brian Kerr's Ireland 2-1 (Pirlo 10, Gilardino 31; Reid 32).
• Since Giovanni Trapattoni took over in 2008, Ireland have remained unbeaten in three games against Italy, starting with two qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup finals. They drew 1-1 in Bari on 1 April 2009 (Iaquinta 10; Robbie Keane 88) and 2-2 in Dublin on 10 October 2009 (Whelan 8 St Ledger 87; Camoranesi 26, Gilardino 90).
Selected previous meetings
7 June 2011: Italy 0-2 Republic of Ireland (Andrews 36, Cox 90) – Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Liege, friendly
Italy: Viviano, Cassani, Gamberini, Chiellini, Criscito (Balzaretti 65), Nocerino (Giovinco 59), Pirlo (Palombo 46), Marchisio, Montolivo, Pazzini (Gilardino 59), Rossi (Matri 46).
Republic of Ireland: Forde, McShane, St Ledger, O'Dea (Kelly 83), Ward (Delaney 90+2), Coleman, Foley (Whelan 59), Andrews, Hunt, Long (Cox 59), Keogh (Treacy 75).
• Both sides fielded unfamiliar lineups in their most recent meeting as Keith Andrews scored his first international goal since registering against Poland on his debut in November 2008, while goalkeeper David Forde made his senior debut at the age of 31 – the oldest Irish debutant since the Second World War.
18 June 1994: Italy 0-1 Republic of Ireland (Houghton 11) – New Meadowlands Stadium, New York/New Jersey, FIFA World Cup group stage
Italy: Pagliuca, Costacurta, Maldini, Baresi, Tassotti, Albertini, D Baggio, Donadoni, R Baggio, Evani (Massaro 45), Signori (Berti 84).
Republic of Ireland: Bonner, Irwin, Babb, McGrath, Phelan, Roy Keane, Townsend, Houghton (McAteer 68), Sheridan, Staunton, Coyne (Aldridge 90).
• Jack Charlton's side avenged their defeat at the 1990 World Cup with Ray Houghton's goal helping them get the better of Sacchi's team, which featured current Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-president Demetrio Albertini. Italy nevertheless went on to the final, where they were beaten by Brazil in a penalty shoot-out.
30 June 1990: Italy 1-0 Republic of Ireland (Schillaci 38) – Stadio Olimpico, Rome, FIFA World Cup quarter-finals
Italy: Zenga, Baresi, Bergomi, De Agostini, Ferri, Maldini, De Napoli, Giannini (Ancelotti 62), R Baggio (Serena 70), Donadoni, Schillaci.
Republic of Ireland: Bonner, Morris, Staunton, McCarthy, Moran, McGrath, Houghton, Sheedy, Townsend, Aldridge (Sheridan 78), Quinn (Cascarino 53).
• Salvatore Schillaci's goal earned Azeglio Vicini's host team victory against Charlton's side in Rome, with the Azzurri bowing out to Argentina in the next round. It remains Ireland's only quarter-final appearance at a major final tournament.
• Italy have not missed a finals – World Cup or EURO – since EURO '92.
• Ireland are competing in a UEFA European Championship final tournament for the first time since making their debut in the 1988 event. In West Germany, they beat England 1-0 in their opening fixture, but missed the cut for the semi-finals, drawing against the Soviet Union then losing to the Netherlands.
• Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is coaching at his second UEFA European Championship; his Italy side went home unbeaten from UEFA EURO 2004 with a win and two draws in the group stage.
• Italy coach Cesare Prandelli played under Trapattoni at Juventus from 1979 to 1985, and Trapattoni's assistant Marco Tardelli was one of his team-mates. Former Ireland midfielder Liam Brady, once a member of Trapattoni's technical staff, also played at Juventus with Prandelli between 1980 and 1982, winning two Serie A titles under 'Trap'.
• Robbie Keane played alongside Andrea Pirlo at FC Internazionale Milano in the first half of 2000/01.
• Shay Given was a team-mate of Mario Balotelli at Manchester City FC during 2010/11.
• When Newcastle United FC played FC Barcelona in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League second group stage, Thiago Motta scored past Given in the Catalan club's 3-1 win at the Camp Nou and the 2-0 victory at St James' Park.
• Daniele De Rossi's AS Roma played John O'Shea's Manchester United four times during the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League. He had previously met O'Shea in both legs of the 2006/07 quarter-finals when, after a 2-1 win in Italy, Roma lost 7-1 at Old Trafford, De Rossi scoring the consolation goal.
• O'Shea was in the Ireland side which beat Italy 2-1 in the 1998 UEFA European Under-16 Championship final.
• In November 2003, Damien Duff scored for Chelsea FC during the 4-0 defeat of S.S. Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in the UEFA Champions League group stage. FIGC vice-president Albertini was in the Rome club's lineup.
• If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings:
a) Higher number of points obtained in the matches played between the teams in question;
b) Superior goal difference resulting from the matches played between the teams in question;
c) Higher number of goals scored in the matches played between the teams in question;
d) If, after having applied criteria a) to c), two teams still have an equal ranking, criteria a) to c) are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the two teams in question to determine the final rankings of the two teams. If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria e) to i) apply in the order given;
e) superior goal difference in all group matches;
f) higher number of goals scored in all group matches;
g) position in the UEFA national team coefficient ranking system (see annex I, paragraph 1.2.2);
h) fair play conduct of the teams (final tournament);
i) drawing of lots
• The Group C coefficients are as follows:
Republic of Ireland 28.576
• If two teams which have the same number of points, the same number of goals scored and conceded play their last group match against each other and are still equal at the end of that match, the ranking of the two teams in question is determined by kicks from the penalty mark provided no other teams within the group have the same number of points on completion of all group matches. Should more than two teams have the same number of points, the criteria listed under paragraph 8.07 apply.
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