Tom Simmonds looks at the top moments from Republic of Ireland’s win against Italy to qualify for the last 16.
Embed from Getty Images
1. Sweet 16! A deserved and hard-fought win over a second-string Italian side has secured Ireland a date with France in Lyon on Sunday.
2. Brady Bunch: It had to be star man Robbie Brady who struck the winner to take the Irish through. Ireland’s best player throughout the Euros so far has always looked the boy in green most likely to do something special… and so it proved against Italy.
3. Foam party: Ireland’s fans poured a bottle of washing up liquid into a fountain outside Lille’s main railway station before kick-off… and Martin O’Neill’s team left the defeated Group C leaders foaming at the mouth.
4. Hammer time? Darren Randolph’s impudent first-half drag-back to dump Simone Zaza on his backside might just have convinced the Italian striker to join the Ireland keeper at West Ham next season so he can exact revenge in training.
5. Pitch imperfect: UEFA announced that a Lille pitch they described as being “irreversibly damaged” would be replaced after the Ireland v Italy match. Ireland will be happy they got the chance to get last use of a surface the Italians were so dissatisfied with.
6. Hospital Ward… Stephen Ward walking through Federico Bernardeschi’s two-stage reducer of a tackle in the first half with a mild shrug sent a signal to the Italians that they would have to try harder to rattle them. Remember, this is the nation which plays the ultra-violent hurling for fun…
7. Former Gaelic Football and hurling star Shane Long followed in Ward’s footsteps by reacting to Salvatore Sirigu’s shove on him by laughing at him. No backward steps from Ireland here.
8. Giddy O’Neill thought it was all over as he mistook the awarding of a free-kick for the final whistle. It touchingly showed the Ireland boss in tune with the way the elated Irish fans were feeling.
9. Keep your wig on… As O’Neill prematurely embraced his Italian counterpart Antonio Conte, there was a hair-raising moment as fans were given a close-up of the new Chelsea manager’s dodgy barnet. Three expensive hair transplants later, and he still looks like he’s sporting roadkill on his head.
10. Drink it in! Bar owners in Lille might want to place orders for urgent beer deliveries and applications for one-off 24-hour licenses as the Irish celebrate their historic win.
Read more from Tom here
Follow Tom on Twitter @TallulahonEarth