Robbie Brady’s late header sent Republic of Ireland into the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time after a 1-0 win over a much-changed Italy side in Lille.

Date: June 22, 2016

Result: Italy 0 Rep Ireland 1

Scorers:

Italy: none

Rep Ireland: Brady 84

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy

Match overview:

Robbie Brady’s late header sent the Republic of Ireland into the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time after a 1-0 win over a much-changed Italy side in Lille. Ireland will play hosts and favourites France in Lyon next Sunday.

Brady’s goal parked wild celebrations among the thousands of noisy Irish fans who dominated the crowd in Lille but it was nothing more than the Republic deserved. Ireland had strong claims for a penalty when James McClean was shoved by Federico Bernardeschi late in the first half. But Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan was unimpressed and the Republic, despite being far the better side in the first half, went in goalless at the break.

Ireland controlled possession but much of the game but needed to take their chances when they came along. It seemed unlikely that they could keep such high energy levels up for the whole of the second half in a hot, humid atmosphere played under a closed roof in Lille.

Italy coach Antonio Conte made nine changes from the side that had beaten Sweden and the defeat took a little wind from their sails ahead of their second-round match against Spain in Paris next Monday. Substitute Lorenzo Insigne had his team’s best chance when he hit a post with a fierce shot in the 76th minute. The Azzurri looked as if they might steal a late winner and keep intact their record of not conceding in the knockout stages. But Ireland substitute Wes Hoolahan had other ideas. His looping cross into the Italian area was met by Brady’s header – and Ireland were in the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed teams.

Key moment:

Robbie Brady’s 85th-minute winner for Republic of Ireland, rising between Italy’s defenders to head Wes Hoolahan’s cross past keeper Salvatore Sirigu. Just as it looked as if Ireland might flag and Italy’s attacking substitutes might steal a late winner, the Norwich City midfielder’s goal sent Martin O’Neill’s side into the knockout stages.

Man of the match:

Midfielder James McCarthy typified Ireland’s energtic approach against an Italy side that had already qualfied for the knockout stages as group winners.

Matter of fact:

The defeat for Italy meant no team reached the knockout stage with a 100 per cent record.

Talking point:

Centre-backs Leonardo Bonucci, captain in the absence of the rested Gianluigi Buffon, and Andrea Barzagli were the only two Italians from the Sweden starting line-up to begin the final group match in Lille. For Italy coach Antonio Conte, playing Bonucci was gamble as the Juventus defender was a booking away from missing the Spain game.

Stats:

Goal attempts

Italy: 5

Rep Ireland: 12

Attempts on target

Italy: 4

Rep Ireland: 6

Corners

Italy: 1

Rep Ireland: 4

Line-ups:

Italy

12 Salvatore Sirigu

02 Mattia De Sciglio (22 Stephan El Shaarawy 81)

05 Angelo Ogbonna

07 Simone Zaza

08 Alessandro Florenzi

10 Thiago Motta

11 Ciro Immobile (20 Lorenzo Insigne 74)

14 Stefano Sturaro

15 Andrea Barzagli

19 Leonardo Bonucci

21 Frederico Bernardeschi (04 Matteo Darmian 60)

Starting formation 3-5-2

Sirigu – Barzagli, Bonucci, Ogbonna – Bernardeschi, Sturaro, Thiago Motta, Florenzi, De Sciglio – Zaza, Immobile

Rep Ireland

23 Darren Randolph

02 Seamus Coleman

05 Richard Keogh

08 James McCarthy (20 Wes Hoolahan 76)

09 Shane Long (22 Stephen Quinn 89)

11 James McClean

12 Shane Duffy

13 Jeff Hendrick

17 Stephen Ward

19 Robbie Brady

21 Daryl Murphy (07 Aidan McGeady 69)

Starting formation: 4-2-3-1

Randolph – Coleman, Duffy, Keogh, Ward – McClean, McCarthy – Hendrick, Murphy, Brady – Long

Yellow cards:

Italy: Sirigu 39, Barzagli 78, Insigne 90

Rep Ireland: Long 39, Ward 72

Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (Rom)

Attendance: 44,268