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Legendary Irish Midfielder Ray Houghton Reflects on Historic Euro 1988 Victory over England

Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland midfielder Ray Houghton etched his name in football history with a memorable goal against England at Euro 1988 in Germany. The two-time First Division and FA Cup winner also found the net for Ireland at the 1994 World Cup, cementing his status as a true icon of the game.

As the European Championships return to Germany in 2024, Houghton sat down with FourFourTwo to discuss his crowning moment against Ireland’s greatest rivals.

Ireland Punch Above Their Weight at Euro 1988

Drawn into a challenging group with former world champions England and Netherlands, as well as eventual finalists the Soviet Union, Ireland began their Euro 1988 campaign with a clash against their old foes, England. Against a star-studded England side featuring the likes of Gary Lineker, Tony Adams, Bryan Robson and Peter Shilton, Houghton’s sixth-minute opener proved enough to secure a historic 1-0 victory for the Irish.

“What I remember was that we didn’t fear facing England โ€“ and they were expected to beat us because they were England, of course,” Houghton recalled. “But our wonderful manager, Jack Charlton, reassured us that we were more than capable of winning the game. We knew we could do it.”

Despite a draw against the Soviets, Ireland were ultimately eliminated at the group stage, with the Netherlands going on to win the tournament. However, the 1988 Euros remains one of the more fondly remembered tournaments in Irish football history.

“I scored in the sixth minute and it was the hardest 84 minutes of my life afterwards,” Houghton said. “Packie Bonner made some terrific saves. People ask me if it’s my favourite goal, and the Italy one is obviously bigger, but this was my first for Ireland. Big Jack said to us, ‘Don’t ever do that to me again!’ He was more knackered than us just watching, but we held on to win 1-0. Unforgettable.”

With the 2024 European Championships set to take place in Germany, football fans around the world are eagerly anticipating the return of this prestigious tournament. As the stage is set for new heroes to emerge, the memory of Houghton’s iconic moment against England will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of Irish footballers.

๐Ÿ”— Source