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Billy Stickland/INPHO Ireland's 1990 heroes celebrate their shootout win over Romania.
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6 memorable last-16 matches from down the years
And you thought the group stages were good?

IT’S BUSINESS TIME.  Having sorted out the men from the boys, the second round of the World Cup allows the best-of-the-best face off.

Some of these games have seen magic, heartache, scandals and games that will last a lifetime in a nations memory. Here’s a half dozen our favourites.

Brazil 2-3 Italy

Sarria Stadium, Spain 1982

Before the knock-out system was introduced in Spain ’82, Brazil squared off against Italy needing only a point to qualify for the next round. A game with a standard of football we would pray to see again at this World Cup.

Stunning goals from Socrates and Falcao were not enough to top the Italians on a day that would become famous for the hat-trick of the Azzuri striker Paolo Rossi. The Italians would then go on to win the tournament.

MilosLB / YouTube

Belgium 4-3 Soviet Union (aet)

Estadio Campo Nuevo, Mexico 1986

This next one is for the hipster football fans who liked Belgium before it was cool to like Belgium. Back in Mexico ’86 the Red Devils upset the Soviet machine.

The USSR team was largely composed of Dynamo Kiev players who had that year won the Cup Winners’ Cup and were strong favourites. Not even a hat-trick from Igor Belanov however could derail the Belgians on their way to the quarter finals.

The game was not without controversy however. While that World Cup saw the famous “hand of God” moment, this game too saw calls for offside for the Belgian goals in ordinary time.

Despite this there was some great football played by both sides and the highlights can be seen below.

BETD911 / YouTube

Ireland 0-0 Romania (a.e.t)/ Ireland win 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out

Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Italy 1990

You didn’t think we would leave out this one.  So cast your eye back to when a nation held it’s breath.

CuChoileain / YouTube

England 2-2 Argentina, (a.e.t.) /Argentina win 4-3 in penalty shoot-out

Stade Geoffrey-Guichard, France 1998

Some matches are remembered as much for the wrong reasons as the right ones. Step forward, Saint-Étienne in 1998.

The Michael Owen-dominated game ended up a 2-2 draw between the sides despite England having a disallowed goal. It went to penalties where David Batty missed a decisive spot kick and the South American’s went through.

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ClassicEngland / YouTube

Ireland 1-1 Spain (a.e.t.)/ Spain win 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out,  

Suwon Stadium , Korea Japan 2002

Spain took the lead through a goal from Fernando Morientes, Damien Duff was then taken down in the box which gave Ireland a penalty opportunity. Ian Harte stepped up to take the spot kick only to have it saved by the Spanish goalkeeper.

It looked like Ireland might head out there and then until a Spanish defender attempted to undress Niall Quinn in the box earning the Boys in Green another penalty. Robbie Keane stepped up and levelled the game.

After extra time there was still no winner so the game went to a penalty shoot out. Alas it wasn’t to be for Mick McCarthy’s men and Spain ended up victors winning 4-3 after the penalties.

pamemundial / YouTube

Germany 4-1 England,

Bloemfontein, South Africa 2010

This one might not be that memorable for the football involved but it will be remembered for other reasons. This game saw England being trashed by a superior German side but has had an effect on the World Cup this year.

ClassicEngland / YouTube

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