GALLERY: Ireland have a positive record in their opening tournament matches

They have only lost one of their opening five games

ireland, football, euro 2016, houghton, holland, sheedy, st ledger

Ray Houghton shoots and scores the only goal of the game against Italy Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

History is on Ireland's side in the opening matches of major tournaments.

Before the 2012 loss to Croatia, and the nightmare that eventually followed, Ireland were unbeaten in their previous four matches.

Those games included underdog wins against England in 1988 and Italy in 1994. The other two games saw Ireland come from behind to draw 1-1 with England in 1990 and Cameroon in 2002.

Euro 1988: England 0-1 Republic of Ireland

Ray Houghton put the ball in the English net in West Germany in 1998. The only goal of the game in Gelsenkirchen remains one of the most famous in Irish history.

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

1990 World Cup: England 1-1 Republic of Ireland

Two years later, the two teams met again in their opening game of a major tournament. Kevin Sheedy scored his most famous goal in an Irish jersey, late in the second half as Jack Charlton's side earned a point in Cagliari.

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

1994 World Cup: Italy 0-1 Republic of Ireland

Six years after scoring in West Germany, Houghton was the hero once more in Giant's Stadium. His goal was the only one of the game as Ireland defeated Italy in a repeat of their quarter-final from 1990.

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

2002 World Cup: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Cameroon

Matt Holland scored Ireland's only goal in his World Cup debut against Cameroon in Niigata. Like Sheedy did 12 years earlier, Holland scored a second-half equaliser after Patrick M'Boma have given the African side an early lead.

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tom Honan

Euro 2012: Republic of Ireland 1-3 Croatia

The less said about four years ago the better. Sean St. Ledger scored Ireland's only goal of the tournament. Mario Mandzukic broke Irish hearts with the game's first and final goals and Nikica Jelavic scored the Croat's middle goal.

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Ireland's record is relatively positive (P5 W2 D2 L1) in these games. Let's hope that does not change on Monday evening against Sweden. It could be a disaster if it does.