Robbie Brady headed home a late winner as Republic of Ireland booked their place in the last 16 of Euro 2016 with a famous 1-0 victory over Italy in Lille.

Martin O’Neill‘s men needed the three points to have any chance of reaching the knockout stage and produced a tireless, vibrant performance to edge a much-changed Azzurri who had already qualified as Group E winners.

The Irish bossed the first period and went close through Jeff Hendrick and Daryl Murphy. They also had a big penalty appeals turned down when Federico Bernarderschi appeared to catch James McClean as the winger looked set to shoot.

1882018-39637153-2560-1440

It seemed that would be the major talking point as the game wore on with Ireland struggling to make a breakthrough. Italy improved and substituteLorenzo Insigne saw a shot crash back off the post late in the second half before Wes Hoolahan fired a gilt-edged opportunity straight at Salvatore Siriguon 84 minutes.

The Norwich winger’s miss could easily have seen him cast as villain but he responded with a sublime cross 60 seconds later for club-mate Brady to send Ireland’s fans into hysteria.

The result sees the Republic win a Euros match for the first time in 28 years and sees them qualify as one of the best third-placed sides. They will now meet hosts France in a mouth-watering last-16 clash on Sunday afternoon.

Group E

Played Won Draw Lost For Against Goal difference Points
ITALY
3 2 0 1 3 1 2 6
BELGIUM
3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
3 1 1 1 2 4 -2 4
SWEDEN
3 0 1 2 1 3 -2 1
Advertisements