GENOA, ITALY, JUNE 26 -- A gunner and a goalie made the difference for Ireland today in the second round of the World Cup.
The Irish, who tied all three of their first-round games to advance, also played a scoreless tie through 120 minutes against Romania today, necessitating the first penalty kick shootout of this tournament.
Ireland won it, 5-4, as goalie Patrick Bonner made the only save of the shootout and David O'Leary, known as "Gunner" because he plays for the Arsenal Gunners of the English First Division, put in the deciding kick.
"A penalty shootout is a nervous situation and our boys responded to it magnificently," said Ireland Coach Jack Charlton. "I think the pubs in Ireland will serve more tonight than they have all year."
The Irish have a lot to celebrate, especially a quarterfinal berth in their first World Cup qualifying success.
"This is a great win for everyone -- the boys, the staff, for me," said Charlton, who was on the English team that won the World Cup 24 years ago. "Nineteen-sixty-six was a great day, but I think this was even a greater day. In our first World Cup, to get to the quarterfinals is an amazing achievement."
So was the display of cool, precision kicking the Irish showed in the shootout. Romania shot first and each time a Romanian beat Bonner, an Irishman responded by beating goalie Silviu Lung.
On the fifth try, Bonner dove to his right and made a hand save on Daniel Timofte's kick.
After a brief wait while tensions increased, the 32-year-old O'Leary, probably playing in his only World Cup, drove the ball into the net, prompting a wild celebration by the players on the field and nearly 20,000 Irish fans in the crowd.
"It was like playing at home," said Charlton, who took charge of the Irish team four years ago.
Ireland, which has not lost a game in the last 19 months, extended its unbeaten streak against eastern European teams to nine.