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Ireland v Italy - Euro 2016
Ireland played the final group match of their Euro 2016 finals campaign against Italy in the Stade Pierre Mauoy in Lille on Wesnesday 22 June 2016.
After the reult against Belgium the Irish team manager, Martin O’Neill, knew that it was now knockout football. Nothing but a win for the Irish world do or else it would an early trip home for the players and fans. With this in mind O’Neill rang the changes, leaving out Wes Hoolahan, John O’Shea, Glenn Whelan and Ciaran Clark. Perhaps surprisingly James McCarthy retained his place but moved into the midfield spot previously occupied by Whelan.
Italian manager Antonio Conte made eight changes from the team that beat Sweden. In came Sirigu, Ogbonna, De Sciglio, Sturaro, Motta, Bernardeschi, Zaza and Immobile.
From the kick-off it was clear that the Irish would adopt a much more attacking posture than against Belgium. This was matched by Irish aggression as both Coleman and McCarthy were both lucky not to be booked for tough challenges. Coming up to the ten minute mark Daryl Murphy won a header to enable Jeff Hendrick get on the ball about 45 yards from the Italy goal. Powering forward and Hendrick unleashed a left-footed surface-to-air screamer that fizzed just wide of the top left-hand corner.
Ten minutes later Italian goalkeeper, Sirigu, tipped a powerful Daryl Murphy header over the crossbar. The second string Italian players were struggling to get a foothold in the match. Just before half time Murphy played the ball to James McClean in the Italy penalty area. As the Irishman shaped to shoot Bernardeschi to elbowed him in the back and shoved him over with his hip. A cast iron penalty claim that the Romanian referee, who had a clear view of the incident chose to deny. Despite Irish efforts the score remained 0-0 at the end of the first half.
The Irish resumed the second half as they played the first, dominating the Italians and pressing for a breakthrough goal. After 69 minutes Aiden McGeady came on for Daryl Murphy, who couldn’t be faulted for effort, but still hadn’t broken his duck as far as scoring for Ireland was concerned. Italian substitute Insigne reminded the Irish of how fragile their foothold in the Euros was. He ran at the Ireland defence, took a curling shot and hit the foot of the Irish upright.
At the other end Wes Hoolahan, a substitute for McCarthy, missed the opportunity of the match. Clean through on goal he let Sirigu save when he really should have scored. However with just five minutes left Hoolahan made amends when he curled in a sumptuous cross into the box that was headed home by Robbie Brady. The Norwich man timed his run perfectly and bravely headed home disregarding the risk posed by the advancing Romanian keeper.
They had left it late
but Brady’s winning goal ensured that Ireland would advance from Group E
to play hosts France in Lyon in the knockout stages.
Euro 2016 - Republic of Ireland V Italy Statistics
Irish & Italian Teams
Republic of Ireland Team
Date: 22 June 2016. Venue: Stade Pirre Mauroy, Lille, France. Attendance: 49,800. Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania).
2016 Euro Group E Table After Final Round of Matches
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