22.06.2016 at 21:00 Stae Pierre Mauroy, Lille
0 - 1
Republic of Ireland
Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (ROU)
European Cup Finals-match
James Mc Carthy
James Mc Clean
Aidan Mc Geady
Republic of Ireland sealed their passage to the knock-out stages to face France in Lyon, with one of the all-time great Irish performances at an international competition...
Ireland dominated the tie against the 2006 World Cup winners Italy and got their rewards with four minutes remaining as Robbie Brady headed home to book their ticket to the next round.
Martin O'Neill made four changes for the crucial clash as Daryl Murphy, James McClean, Shane Duffy and Richard Keogh replaced Wes Hoolahan, John O'Shea, Ciaran Clark and Glenn Whelan in the starting XI.
And the changes had the desired effect with a dominant 90 minutes from Ireland, who fashioned their first chance in the 8th minute. Stephen Ward pumped a long ball towards the huge frame of Murphy who was able to knock down for Jeff Hendrick to rifle a 25-yard shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the former Waterford United man Murphy almost got his first goal for the national side as Brady whipped in a left-sided corner and Murphy rose highest to see his powerful header tipped over by Paris Saint Germain keeper Salvatore Sirigu.
O'Neill's side continued their domination in the hot and humid Stade Pierre-Mauroy as Italy only managed their first shot in the 41st minute, Torino forward Ciro Immobile firing wide from 25 yards.
Just before the break, Ireland had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down. James McClean got goal-side of Federico Bernardeschi in the area and appeared to be pushed to the floor, but referee Ovidiu Hategan waved play on.
Simone Zaza volleyed over first-time two minutes after the break but Ireland continued their industrious dominance and should have took a deserved lead in the 55th minute. After a pacey attacking move from Ireland and a poor clearance from Andrea Barzagli, Seamus Coleman latched onto the ball but his fierce effort was blocked by Leonardo Bonucci.
The excellent Hendrick fired narrowly wide from the edge of the area with 30 minutes remaining and substitute Aidan McGeady flashed a powerful effort over as the tense game entered it's final stages and Ireland pushed for the goal which would send them through to the knock-out stages.
Substitute Lorenzo Insigne almost broke Irish hearts when his curled effort hit the post before substitute Wes Hoolahan missed a glorious chance to put Ireland ahead when he was put through on goal but could only find Sirgiu from 10 yards out.
He was to make up for it a minute later though, in a moment which will go down in the Irish history books. Hoolahan whipped in an incredible cross to find the on-rushing Brady to head home past Sirgiu which sealed an incredible victory and a ticket to the knock-out stages.
Next stop, Lyon to face France.
Republic of Ireland: Randolph (GK), Coleman (C), Keogh, Duffy, Ward, McCarthy (Hoolahan 76), Hendrick, McClean, Brady, Murphy (McGeady 69), Long (Quinn 89).
Subs not used: Westwood (GK), Given (GK), Clark, O'Shea, Whelan, Keane, Walters, Christie, Meyler.
Italy: Sirigu (GK), De Sciglio (El Shaarawy 81), Ogbonna, Zaza, Florenzi, Motta, Immobile (Insigne 74), Sturaro, Barzagli, Bonucci (c), Bernardeschi (Darmian 59).
Subs not used: Buffon (GK), Marchetti (GK), Chiellini, Candreva, Pelle, De Rossi, Eder, Parolo, Giaccherini.
Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (ROU)
Yellow card(s): Long, Sirigu, Bonucci.