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Forget Romania, it could so easily have been West Germany for the Boys in Green

How differently would things have worked out for Jack Charlton’s side?

Steve Staunton 1990 Steve Staunton in action against Romania at Italia '90 Source: INPHO

FORGET ROMANIA, GENOA and Daniel Timofte.

The enduring image from Ireland’s memorable campaign at Italia 90 may never have happened but for the luck of the draw.

After the group stages had concluded, Ireland and the Netherlands simply could not be separated.

Their points total in Group F were identical, they both had scored twice and conceded twice while their results were also the same.

Source: Soccer-Ireland

There was only one way to separate them to figure out who finished second and third.

And that was to draw lots.

Do you recognise the lad doing the draw below?

Source: Mare Footage/YouTube

Nineteen years before he sniggered at Ireland’s ‘Team 33′ suggestion, Sepp did us a favour by ensuring it was Romania we were facing off against while the Netherlands were pitted with the onerous task of facing West Germany.

The rest was history, Ireland beat Romania in a penalty shootout before bowing out against Italy in the last eight.

West Germany saw off the Netherlands 2-1 in Milan and went on to overcome Czechoslovakia and England before defeating Argentina to lift the World Cup.

So do you reckon we’d have seen off a team containing Jurgen Kohler, Lothar Matthaus, Rudi Voller and Jurgen Klinsmann?

Click here for more of The42’s commemorative coverage>

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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