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  • Date:18 Jun 2012
  • Kick-off:19:45
  • Venue:Poznan Municipal Stadium - Poznan
  • Antonio Cassano (35)
    Mario Balotelli (90)

Live Commentary


It's full-time and Italy have got the win they needed, but now they face a nervous wait to ensure Spain hold on against Croatia.


It was Diamanti's corner and Manchester City striker Balotelli showed tremendous technique to volley home. That's game, set and match. And with Spain winning 1-0, Italy should be through.


Balotelli does superbly to hook in a great finish under pressure from O'Shea.


Goal for Italy!


Red card for Ireland!


Andrews is sent off for a second booking. He had fouled Pirlo and then departs by pointing his finger angrily at the referee and then booting the ball away.


Balotelli embarks on another penetrating run but can't get enough power behind his shot to beat Given.


Ireland's last change sees Simon Cox sent on for Keane.


Diamanti takes the resulting free-kick but it crashes into the wall and Bonucci blazes over from the rebound. Inbetween there's an appeal for a handball in the area against O'Shea that comes to nothing.


Balotelli goes on a great run through the heart of the Ireland defence and St Ledger has to foul him, earning a booking in the process.


With Spain and Croatia still drawing 0-0, Italy are less than 10 minutes away from the last eight.


Walters plays in Keane down the left side of the Italy area, but the Ireland striker's cross is poor and Prandelli's men breathe a sight of relief.


Buffon preserves Italy's lead with a fine save from Andrews' powerful low free-kick.


Italy have gone quiet for the last few minutes. Are nerves setting in?


Trapattoni makes another switch. This time it's Doyle who comes off and burly Stoke striker Jon Walters is on.


Long heads just over from Duff's corner but Dunne is penalised for a foul on Buffon.


Italy captain Buffon is shown a yellow card for running out of his area to argue a decision.


Prandelli makes his final change, sending on Mario Balotelli in place of Di Natale.


Duff puts a decent delivery into the Italy penalty area from a free-kick. Dunne gets up to meet it but Italy are able to clear.


De Rossi goes into the book for a cynical trip on Doyle as he tries to surge onto Long's pass.


Pirlo has a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the Ireland penalty area, but the midfielder's whipped shot whistles over the bar.


Long has made a lively start and he forces Bonucci to concede a corner with some determined chasing.


Doyle seems to have gone out to the right wing, so it's Long and Keane in the Ireland forward line.


Trapattoni sends on Shane Long for McGeady. Could be three up front for Ireland now.


Andrews does well to steal possession in midfield and he wins a corner when his long-range effort is deflected away by De Rossi.


Italy make their second change as Cassano is replaced by Alessandro Diamanti. There's a great ovation for the goal-scorer from Italy's small band of fans.


Andrews takes aim from long-range. He's scored against Italy before but the Irish midfielder's strike is straight at goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.


Italy are enjoying most of the possession at the moment and Marchisio tries his luck with a long-range volley that flies wide.


Giorgio Chiellini has to come off with an injury and it's Leonardo Bonucci, his Juventus team-mate, who replaces the Italian defender.


Di Natale races clear into the penalty area, but he goes for the near-post and Given is able to save. He should have gone across the goalkeeper there.


McGeady has been subdued for much of the tournament, but he is more menacing here and loops over a cross that Keane heads goalwards. It goes out for a corner and Dunne heads wide from the set-piece.


De Rossi is just off-target with a curling effort aimed for the top corner from the edge of the area.


Balzaretti does well to find space on the left edge of the penalty area and he cuts back to Cassano, whose side-footed effort is blocked by Dunne. The Italian striker should have done better there.


Italy are straight back on the attack though and Di Natale's shot is blocked by St Ledger before Dunne clears for a corner. Ireland survive the set-piece from Pirlo.


Ireland are still receiving tremendous backing from their travelling army and the players make a positive start, briefly pinning Italy deep into their own half.


After competing well for much of the half, Ireland's players are starting to look a bit downbeat.


Dunne is working overtime to keep Italy at bay and he makes another important intervention to stop Di Natale getting a shot away.


Cassano is looking dangerous and he picks out Di Natale, who slips a pass into the six-yard box, where Dunne is forced into a last-ditch clearance.


Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews is shown a yellow card for clattering Pirlo, while John O'Shea is also booked for a foul on Balzaretti.


With Spain and Croatia drawing, as it stands Italy are top of the group and would go through. There's a long way to go yet though.


It's a great header from Cassano as the little forward nips in at the near post to glance his header goalwards from Pirlo's delivery. It's nearly cleared off the line by Duff but replays show the officials were right to give the goal.


Given spills Di Natale's shot from the edge of the area and from the resulting corner, Cassano heads home off the woodwork.


Goal for Italy!


Di Natale goes agonisingly close to opening the scoring as he skips around Shay Given before firing goalwards from an incredibly acute angle. However, St Ledger is there to clear off the line.


Italy have played in fits and starts so far. They are pushing Ireland back but haven't quite found their rhythm in the final third.


Italy appeal in vain for a penalty as Di Natale's shot strikes St Ledger. It's close to his arm but referee Cuneyt Cakir waves play on.


Balzaretti is the first player to go into the book as he tugs Aiden McGeady.


Cassano does well to set up Di Natale with a low cross and the Italian striker shoots on the turn, only for Dunne to block alertly.


Duff is tugged back by Claudio Marchisio. It's another enterprising run and this is much better from Ireland than in their previous two matches.


St Ledger finds space to get a glancing header on a corner, but the Ireland defender can't keep it on target.


Pirlo is still being booed by the Ireland supporters and they are delighted when the Italian sends an over-hit pass into touch.


Dunne rises highest to nod Duff's free-kick back into the danger zone, but a foul is awarded for climbing by the Ireland defender.


Ward slides in to tackle Di Natale and it's another corner for Italy. They go for a short one and the ball is worked to Balzaretti, but the defender's shot is well off-target.


Doyle tracks back to win the ball from Pirlo and the Juventus midfielder stays down. He's on his feet eventually to jeers from the Irish fans, who feel he made the most of minimal contact.


Ireland are trying to take the sting out of Italy's pressure with a spell of possession football in their own half.


Italy are starting to hit their stride now and Antonio Cassano torments Stephen Ward down the left before whipping over a cross that Dunne has to head away for another corner. Again Trapattoni's team are well-organised and deal with the corner comfortably.


Richard Dunne has to be alert to deny Daniele De Rossi the chance to cross. Dunne's challenge concedes a corner, but Ireland clear their lines from the set-piece.


Italy win their first corner and it reaches Motta in a dangerous position before Sean St Ledger hacks away.


There's real zest about Ireland's play at the moment. Doyle underlines their intention to make it difficult for the Italians with a run full of pace and determination. He appeals for a corner when his cross is blocked but the decision is a goal-kick.


Duff swings in a free-kick from the right and Doyle is lurking but eventually Italy scramble away at the second attempt.


Ireland have conceded early goals in both games at the Euros. Can they avoid a repeat? Well, they've certainly made a brighter start.


Nearly a chance for Ireland there as Andrea Pirlo gives away possession to Doyle, but the striker can't quite get hold of the ball as he tries to jink into the penalty area and Italy clear.

It's Italy, in blue shirts and white shorts, who get us underway.

Great renditions of the Irish and Italians anthems and now we're just moments away from kick-off.

It's the Republic of Ireland anthem first up.

It's a sultry evening in Poznan and the players have just arrived on the pitch to a warm welcome. There's a few empty seats but plenty of Irish fans have stayed on for the final game, so there's sure to be a decent atmosphere.

Republic of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, Dunne, St. Ledger, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Keane, Doyle. Subs: Westwood, Kelly, McShane, Walters, Gibson, Hunt, O'Dea, Long, Cox, Green, McClean, Forde.

For Ireland, Trapattoni brings in Kevin Doyle for Simon Cox, while Damien Duff captains the side on his 100th international appearance.

Italy: Buffon, Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Balzaretti, Pirlo, Marchisio, Thiago Motta, De Rossi, Di Natale, Cassano. Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Ogbonna Obienza, Balotelli, Giaccherni, Borini, Montolivo, Bonucci, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

Italy make four changes to the side that drew with Croatia as Andrea Barzagli, Ignazio Abate, Federico Balzaretti and Antonio Di Natale come in.

If Italy do beat Ireland, it will end their longest ever winless streak at major international tournaments. It's six games since they beat France 2-0 in their final group match at Euro 2008.

Trapattoni still feels he underachieved during his spell as Italy boss, but he has proved a thorn in their side since and is unbeaten in three meetings with his country during his spell as Ireland boss.

With Ireland already out of contention after heavy defeats against Croatia and Spain, Prandelli's men will be expected to secure the victory they need against Giovanni Trapattoni's side. But the Italians have lacked a cutting edge in their first two group matches, which both ended in draws against Spain and Croatia.

Italy were eliminated from Euro 2004 after a 2-2 draw between Denmark and Sweden sent both through at their expense, but Azzurri star Thiago Motta doesn't expect Spain and Croatia to deliberately play out the same result. "They are professionals. It won't happen, everyone will do their own jobs," he said.

If the Spain v Croata game ends in a 1-1 draw, then Italy need to better or equal Croatia's previous 3-1 win over Ireland. If they equal it, Italy will go through because they are ranked higher than Croatia by UEFA. However, if Spain and Croatia draw 2-2 or more then Italy are out.

As is so often the case, the permutations to secure qualification are complicated. The Italians are currently third in the group, two points behind both Spain and Croatia, and one thing is certain -- a draw or defeat will mean an early flight home.

It's crunch time in Group C, with Italy needing a win over the Irish, who have already been eliminated, in their final group stage fixture to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals. Cesare Prandelli's side will also be keeping their fingers crossed that the other group match between Spain and Croatia produces a result that aids their hopes.

Hello and welcome to our live updates from the crucial Euro 2012 clash between Italy and the Republic of Ireland in Poznan.

News of the final whistle in Spain's match brings wild celebrations from the Italy players, who had waited on the pitch to discover their fate. Spain's win means they finish first in the group and Italy are through in second place.

It's Ireland who kick-off what will be their final 45 minutes at Euro 2012. Italy hope to be there a little longer.

The players are drifting back onto the pitch and the second half will be underway shortly.

That's half-time and Italy are 45 minutes away from qualifying for the last eight.

**Provisional teams until kick-off


  • Cesare Prandelli Coach
  • Gianluigi Buffon Goal
  • Ignazio Abate Defender
  • Andrea Barzagli Defender
  • Giorgio Chiellini Defender
  • Federico Balzaretti Defender
  • Claudio Marchisio Midfielder
  • Andrea Pirlo Midfielder
  • Thiago Motta Midfielder
  • Daniele De Rossi Midfielder
  • Antonio Di Natale Forward
  • Antonio Cassano Forward
  • Salvatore Sirigu Substitute
  • Morgan De Sanctis Substitute
  • Christian Maggio Substitute
  • Angelo Ogbonna Substitute
  • Emanuele Giaccherini Substitute
  • Fabio Borini Substitute
  • Riccardo Montolivo Substitute
  • Sebastian Giovinco Substitute
  • Antonio Nocerino Substitute
  • Leonardo Bonucci
  • Alessandro Diamanti
  • Mario Balotelli


  • Giovanni Trapattoni Coach
  • Shay Given Goal
  • John O'Shea Defender
  • Richard Dunne Defender
  • Sean St Ledger Defender
  • Stephen Ward Defender
  • Aiden McGeady Midfielder
  • Glenn Whelan Midfielder
  • Keith Andrews Midfielder
  • Damien Duff Midfielder
  • Robbie Keane Forward
  • Kevin Doyle Forward
  • Kieran Westwood Substitute
  • David Forde Substitute
  • Stephen Kelly Substitute
  • Paul McShane Substitute
  • Darron Gibson Substitute
  • Stephen Hunt Substitute
  • Darren O'Dea Substitute
  • Paul Green Substitute
  • James McClean Substitute
  • Shane Long Substitute who played
  • Jonathan Walters Substitute who played
  • Simon Cox Substitute who played

Match Report

Italy down Ireland to reach quarter-finals
Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli scored the goals as Italy beat 10-man Ireland 2-0 at the Municipal Stadium in Poznan on Monday to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.
Spain's 1-0 win over Croatia meant Italy finished second in Group C and will play the Group D winners in the last eight while Ireland finish bottom with three defeats.
While Italy were worthy winners, Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni will have been bemused to see his side concede both goals from corners.
But Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will also have been concerned by his side's dip in physical condition in the final 20 minutes, just as it did in their previous two games.
Ireland, who showed much willing but little quality, finished the game a man down after Keith Andrews was sent off late on by referee Cuneyt Cakir.
Several times Ireland broke at pace and had the Italian defence back-pedalling but they spurned their own chances through either a wayward pass, poor decision-making or running down a blind alley.
Selected ahead of Balotelli, Antonio Di Natale found space in the box three times only to see his shots blocked by Irish centre-backs Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger.
Di Natale was giving Italy what Prandelli had asked for as he got in behind the defence to latch onto Cassano's through ball before rounding goalkeeper Shay Given and shooting goalwards, only to see St Ledger recover to hack the ball off the line.
Moments later Cassano set his sights from distance and although Given had his body behind the ball, he spilled it and was relieved to see it bounce behind for a corner.
That proved a costly blunder, though, as Cassano ran across Andrews to get a flicked-header on Andrea Pirlo's corner that squeezed past Given and over the line.
Italy kept the pressure on at the start of the second half as St Ledger and Dunne were called upon to block shots from Di Natale and Cassano respectively.
Given then had to get down to his near post to save from Di Natale after a slick Italian passing move that included a clever backheel from Motta.
Ireland created a couple of half chances and Andrews had a sight of goal but from 25 yards his volley dipped straight into goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's arms.
As they had done in the previous two games, Italy's physical conditioning dipped in the final 20 minutes and Ireland started really coming into the game with Andrews having a crack from a free-kick that Buffon could only parry.
Prandelli made a couple of substitutions and switched to a 4-5-1 formation with Balotelli as the loan frontman.
Late on he did brilliantly to hold off John O'Shea, who had a fistful of his blue shirt, to meet Alessandro Diamanti's corner with an acrobatic volley to kill the game and put the seal on victory.
The temperamental star seemed angry and started to say something before Leonardo Bonucci covered his mouth to prevent the Manchester City forward creating any controversy.





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