Ireland Robbie Brady
Robbie Brady celebrates with his Ireland teammates after scoring the winner against Italy in their Group E Euro 2016 gameReuters

Republic of Ireland pressed, proved, threw the kitchen sink at Italy, but it looked like their Euro 2016 would end in the group stages, before Wes Hoolahan, already a scorer of one of the goals of the tournament, swung in one of the corners of Euro 2016 for Robbie Brady to perfectly head home. The 1-0 win over Italy gave Ireland the three points they needed to qualify for the round of 16.

For a long time, it looked like that goal Ireland were looking for would not come, but to their credit, they kept at it, kept going forward, did not let their heads drop, and then a moment of quality from Hoolahan, a beautiful left-footed cross from the right picked out the run of Brady perfectly to send the Irish support into raptures.

"I just trusted Wes to put it where I wanted it, and I am lost for words really, it is unbelievable," Brady said. "To go and do it in front of the fans and my family, it is the best feeling in the world. What a fantastic night, I am absolutely flabbergasted."

The reward for the three points against Italy, is a last 16 match against another of the tournament favourites – France.

Martin O'Neill made several changes to his starting XI – nothing like Italy, of course, who had already qualified as the group winners – and if Italy expected them to just sit back and try and strike a winner from somewhere, they were in for a surprise.

Ireland were the better team in the game, taking 12 shots on goal, with four of them on target, none more important than the one that hit the back of the net on 85 minutes.

Italy were disappointing in this game, and they will now go into the Spain match on the back of a defeat, something they could have done without.

 Also Get the full highlights HERE

Also read