Republic exit Euro with Italy loss

Italy 2- 0 Republic of Ireland
Published Monday, 18 June 2012
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A 10 man Republic of Ireland ended a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign with a tense 2-0 defeat to Italy - their third loss in three matches.

Republic exit Euro with Italy loss
Mario Balotelli of Italy scores his side's second goal against the Republic (© Getty)

Giovanni Trapattoni's side was led by winger Damien Duff on his 100th appearance for his country and wore black armbands to mark the 18th anniversary of the Loughinisland massacre.

The side will return to Dublin on Tuesday having failed to collect a single point in the tournament.

Their exit from the competition was confirmed last week after a heavy defeat to Spain, but Ireland showed more resistance on Monday night conceding one goal in each half, which fired Italy into the quarter-finals of the championship.

Italy needed a win to go through in second place as reigning champions Spain topped Group C with a 1-0 victory over Croatia in Gdansk.

Antonio Cassano first headed home from Andrea Pirlo's 35th-minute corner before substitute Mario Balotelli added a second goal at the death.

The Republic staged a late assault on the Italian goal which came up only just short.

Gianluigi Buffon had to be at his best to keep out Andrews' drilled 79th-minute shot from Duff's back-heeled free-kick.

But it turned sour as Andrews, who had earlier been booked for a foul, received a second yellow card for dissent at the end of the game, seconds before Balotelli fired home a Pirlo corner to secure the win.

We're all disappointed, but we've been beaten by better teams.

Robbie Keane

After the match striker Robbie Keane said the Republic of Ireland had come up short of the required quality on the Euro 2012 stage.

Keane also paid a heartfelt to the Irish fans, who have been dubbed the best supporters in the world during the tournament.

"The last three games, they've been fantastic," he said.

"It's a shame we didn't perform as well as we can and perform for them because if anyone deserves it, it's them.

"I think we played well tonight without really creating too many chances. It's one of those things. It's certainly disappointing we didn't get something out of the group."

Keane said the side, who enjoyed a 14-match unbeaten run before the start of the competition, had conceded too many soft goals through poor defending.

"It's set-pieces again and it's been the same in the last few games. It's one of those things because in previous games we've been quite solid in that department."

Asked if this was likely to have been the final appearance for several veteran players, the 31-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy forward said: "We'll have to see."

This was the Republic's first major tournament for a decade and their first Euro finals since 1988.

© UTV News
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16 Comments
Lauren in Antrim wrote (770 days ago):
Eh, in response to Steve in Belfast "The only people taking an interest in the RoI team are those making a narrow-minded political point, they've no real interest in football". I support the Irish team because I am IRISH and I have a true interest in football. Equally I follow England as I support Liverpool so am keen to see how the likes of Gerrard etc play. So keep your ignorant bile to yourself please. Thank you.
Eric in Bangor wrote (770 days ago):
Now that the Euros are over all the ROI supporters can go back to supporting their favourite ENGLISH premiership football teams or their BRITISH SPL teams.
Einstein in BELFAST wrote (770 days ago):
So, you call it Northern Ireland? Good for you, live & let live i say. Most northern Catholics refer to the entity as The Six Counties (that's how they feel about it, that's how they've always felt about it - & i suggest it's going to be very difficult to dislodge that).But then - you already know this anyway, don't you? Half the population of the Six Counties support Ireland. In fact, the vast majority of peolpe of a Unionist/Protestant background here i speak to can't bear to listen to the English go on about their team- & certainly don't support them. "when you openly coherse people to join you on the basis of religeon this is what happens." What happens? That they play for the team they wish to play for- i don't think they needed to be coerced very far - do you? (Considering how much you love us?)
John in Co.armagh wrote (770 days ago):
Seems there is enough hate being spouted by various hatefilled posters, well here are a few facts for thenm who follow the team that you can be chosen for if you fly out of Dublin airport, 3 world cups before the great or not so great ROI even got a sniff of playing in a world cup, 1958,1982,1986 may i add with all home grown players not tourists from scotland or england.
Police Lover in bangor wrote (771 days ago):
I thought that the Republic of Ireland made up the numbers in a very dignified way. Their supporters also seemed to have a great time and represented their country in a way they can be proud of!
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