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Who would play Dunphy, Charlton and Maradona in an Italia 90 movie?

Danny DeVito, Joe Pesci and Ryan Gosling all feature.

IF THE COSTA Ricans can do it, then why can’t we?

Granted, they actually won two games in their group stage, beating Scotland and Sweden, but still got thumped in the last 16 by Czechoslovakia.

And last year they celebrated their achievement by turning it into the movie ‘Italia 90′, a trailer for which can be seen below.

Source: HolaEsLola/YouTube

The Central Americans hadn’t actually made it past the group stage of the World Cup since, until last year’s tournament, and you could argue that the film it served as a lucky charm for their side, who made it all the way to the quarter finals, before losing to the Netherlands on penalties.

Anyway, that’s enough about the Costa Ricans, for our movie on the Irish team’s exploits in Italy will be much better craic altogether.

A good sports movie needs a strong cast though, and we’ve taken a look at who would play who when this idea inevitably makes it to a cinema near you.

Jack Charlton – James Cromwell

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

This one was the easiest. By a mile. Cromwell’s ability to rock a cloth cap was unrivaled in Babe, and on top of that he really, actually does look like Big Jack.

He has the look nailed, now all he needs is a good stab at Big Jack’s Geordie tones.

Packie Bonner – Peter Coonan

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

It’s all about the gritted teeth.

Packie’s fearsome set of gnashers is one of the more frightening images from an otherwise joyous tournament, and after a few years playing Fran in Love/Hate, we thought Coonan would be able to perfectly portray the intensity of Bonner’s intense expressions before lumping the ball forward.

However, casting will become complicated if Coonan can’t kick a football as least 80 yards at a time.

David O’Leary – Michael Sheen

o'leary sheen

Sheen has football movie pedigree, after doing a brilliant job as Brian Clough in The Damned United, and he actually has similar facial features to the man he’s down to play.

It’s not the most prominent role in the film, I admit, but it’s arguably the most important.

Paul McGrath – Kevin Sharkey

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

Kevin Sharkey himself actually once said he believed he and McGrath were fathered by the same man, so who better to play Paul than the man that may or may not be his brother.

Whether or not they actually are brothers is a story for another day, but we reckon he could do a decent job in the role.

His acting experience may be limited to one episode of Fr Ted, but we’re backing him.

Mick McCarthy – Ryan Gosling

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

A bizarre thought, I know, but there is a definite resemblance there.

1990 Mick was quite similar to Gosling, except just a bit scruffier.

Gosling’s character wasn’t the strongest during Remember The Titans, but since then his acting career has moved on quite a bit and we think he could do Captain Fantastic proud.

Kevin Sheedy – Aidan Gillen

This was a tricky one, because the Italia 90 Kevin Sheedy had one of the least distinguishing faces there has ever been.

After forensic examination of every aspect of his facial features, we’ve plumped for Tommy Carcetti / John Boy / Charlie to be the man to score Ireland’s first goal of the movie.

Niall Quinn – Chris Addison

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

Finding a big man to go into the mixer was a difficult task, and in the end, I stumped for English actor/director/comedian Chris Addison.

Quinn was a decent hurler in his day, and Addison has only recently been speaking about his fascination with the sport, so at least they have something in common aside from height.

Find me someone better, and I’ll make you an extra on the film.

Gary Lineker – Robert Sheehan

It’s all about the sallow skin, and the baby face.

This may be one of the very few occasions that an Irish born player gets poached to play for England, but Sheehan definitely fits the bill for Lineker.

Half the film’s budget will be spent paying Sheehan though, as we expect he won’t have the squirts on camera for anything less than a few million.

Bobby Robson – Martin Sheen

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

Both short, cuddly, grey-haired men. Both much loved.

Martin Sheen is an easy choice to play the late England manager.

Bill O’Herlihy – Niall Tóibín

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

While the obvious choice for Billo would have been Apres Match’s Risteard Cooper, we’ve decided to go for Billo’s fellow Crokman Tóibín.

Tóibín would surely be able to nail Billo’s Cork twang, and in terms of resemblance, he’s not a million miles off.

Whether or not he’ll be able to handle our Eamon, on the other hand…

Eamon Dunphy – Danny DeVito

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

Again, we could have gone down the predictable Apres Match route here, and I’m sure Gary Cook would have done a fine job, but the gamble is to go big, and they don’t come much bigger (figuratively speaking, of course) than Danny De Vito.

Physically speaking, he wouldn’t exactly be a dead ringer for Eamo, but we reckon Danny could take the role to new levels.

I bet he could do a fantastic pen toss.

Diego Maradona – Joe Pesci

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

I hadn’t actually planned to put Maradona in the movie, but once a colleague suggested Joe Pesci for the role of Diego Maradona, he had to be cast.

He may be in his 70s, but we can’t think of anyone else better to play a short, stocky man with a foul temper, than another short, stocky man with a foul temper.

Plastic surgery may be needed to carry him back 30 years.

Toto Schillaci – John Turturo

Jack Charlton manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team

Another actor who may be pushing on a bit to make a convincing World Cup top scorer, but if Turturo can pull off his Jesus Quintana look from the Big Lebowski, we could be on to a real winner.

Doppelgangers.

Daniel Timofte – Jesse Eisenberg

The last role in the film is sadly one that nobody will really want to play.

The American who most notable portrayed Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network will now have to step into the shoes of a World Cup failure, and his only real involvement will be to have a penalty saved by Peter Coonan.

Have we missed any roles? Think you can find something better? Let us know in the comments below.

Originally published Monday at 18.05

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Click here for more of The42’s commemorative coverage >

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About the author:

Neil Treacy

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