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Euro 2016 Group E Final Matches a few quick thoughts

  • Irish eyes were certainly smiling and you can only begin too imagine the hangover this morning as Martin O’Neill’s side secured their route to the Round of 16 in dramatic fashion
  • With Italy already assured of top spot in the group they had the luxury of rotating their squad and that is what Antonio Conte did as his side made 6 changes from the one that got past Sweden thanks to a late goal
  • And it was a late goal again (as has been the theme of the tournament) as Robbie Brady was the toast of the town with his header from Wes Hoolahan finding the Italian net and sending the boys in green just minutes away from qualifying for the knockout stages
  • Just moments before that it was almost as if they had spurned their perfect opportunity as Wes Hoolahan latched on to a misplaced Italian pass
  • With the freedom of the Italian half he bore down on goal but his finish was incredibly tame and you can feel the agony around the stadium
  • Luckily Hoolahan was to atone for his error just moments later as he played in an inch perfect cross for Brady
  • Hull’s Brady couldn’t have met the ball any better and the sheer ecstasy that came with it was off the scale
  • Ireland evoking memories of World Cup 1994 and getting another one over the Italians
  • Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane were then frantically barking orders from the touchline to make sure they didn’t undo all their hard work
  • Thankfully that wasn’t to be the case and the party was in full flow by 10:00pm as the Republic have joined the three home nations in the Round of 16
  • Their winner meant that it was Turkey and Albania who were sent home packing as the two worst 3rd place sides
  • Another side who was sent home packing was Sweden
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic finishes the tournament without a goal and without making history as the first player to score in four successive European Championships
  • Not only that but he has also called time on playing International Football
  • A lacklustre way for Ibrahimovic to end his playing days for Sweden
  • On the basis of those three performances it doesn’t bode too well for Manchester United fans
  • Belgium are slowly but surely warming up and will fancy their chances more after seeing the way the Round of 16 draw has panned out
  • With the Belgians in the top half of the bracket they have avoided Germany, Italy, France, Spain and England
  • They secured second in the group thanks to Radja Nainggolan’s late winner (once again another late goal)
  • It was 25 yard drive that fizzed past Andreas Isaksson and sent Sweden home without a point and bottom of Group E
  • Sweden have had definitely one of the worst tournaments, maybe even worse than Ukraine
  • At least people expected more with the mercurial Ibrahimovic in the side
  • Group winners Italy don’t have it all their own way though as they now have to face holders Spain
  • Belgium are up against Hungary on Sunday
  • While the Republic face hosts France on Sunday Afternoon


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