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5 Times Ireland Produced A Huge Performance When Nobody Gave Us A Chance

5 Times Ireland Produced A Huge Performance When Nobody Gave Us A Chance
By Mikey Traynor
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It's safe to say that optimism is low as Ireland head into their final group game of Euro 2016 against Italy in Lille.

It's understandable as to why, considering the manner of the defeat to Belgium, but everyone in the stadium on Wednesday night will be believing that we can do the job, so if you don't, we've got something that will hopefully instil a bit of belief in your pessimistic heart.

Ireland have been prematurely written off before, and one could argue that our best performances come when nobody thinks we can get a result. Here are five huge performances that came from a cloud of pessimism.

Ireland 1-0 Holland - 2001

Holland were one of the very finest sides in Europe when they visited Lansdowne Road in 2001 under the guidance of Louis Van Gaal, however, they would fail to qualify for the 2002 World Cup after a Jason McAteer strike gave Ireland a vital win and an unforgettable evening.

While we certainly weren't expecting a battering, especially after taking a two-goal lead in Amsterdam earlier in the campaign, we were underdogs and Holland looked very threatening early on. Thankfully Roy Keane's combative display in midfield set the tone for every Irish player to play at their best and secure a massive win.

England 0-1 Ireland - 1988

With their Union Jacks all the English fans for victory they were set.

Until Ray Houghton got the ball and stuck it in the net!

Christy Moore's 'Joxer Goes To Stuttgart' will tell you all about the mindset of the opposition going into Ireland's first ever game at the Euros, as England boasted what was perceived as a far more talented squad at the time.

But Ireland were never going to go down without a fight and what happened in the Nekastadion that night brought tears to many Irish eyes and even be the highlight of many people's lives, to borrow again from Christy.

Ireland 1-0 Germany - 2015

The most recent example on this list, and proof that we can mix it with the best teams in this competition.

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The Germans arrived at the Aviva Stadium with revenge on their minds as they wanted to make up for John O'Shea's last minute equaliser in Gelsenkirchen, but instead they left with a bitter taste in their mouths as "the 100th long ball" after 99 successfully defended long balls did the job for Ireland.

We had to dig in, ride our luck, and take the only good chance that came our way, but we got the job done and it was glorious.

France 0-1 Ireland - 2009

We all know how the night ended, but the reality of the situation is that Theirry Henry's handball took the narrative away from a fantastic Irish performance in a match nobody gave them a hope in.

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France came to Dublin and won 1-0 thanks to a deflected Nicolas Anelka goal, so the task of heading to the Stade de France and reversing the scoreline was a daunting one.

But the boys in green played them off the pitch. A wonderful goal levelled the scores, and great chances were wasted as the tie went to extra time. We all know what happened next, but the tears at full time were an indication of just how hard Ireland had worked to giev themselves a chance of getting to South Africa.

Ireland 1-0 Italy - 1994

Perhaps the biggest omen ahead of the clash in Lille, we've turned the Italians over before.

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Both the number of Irish fans expected in Giants Stadium, and the ability of the Irish squad, were greatly underestimated as Roberto Baggio and his pals were overwhelmed by Paul McGrath and Jack's army.

Italy would go on to contest the World Cup Final, which goes to show how impressive a performance was put in as Ray Houghton again got the winner in a game nobody gave us a chance in.

Believe.

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