Italy earned the victory they needed against an already eliminated Republic of Ireland to go through to the last eight of Euro 2012.

Ireland started with purpose but went behind when Antonio Cassano headed in a near post Andrea Pirlo corner.

An equaliser would have knocked Italy out and their keeper Gianluigi Buffon smartly saved a Keith Andrews strike.

Analysis

"I hope there are no dramatic changes for the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, because you have to remember what a brilliant achievement it was for us to get here in the first place.

"But my fear is what could happen to Giovanni Trapattoni.

"His team has not had the best of tournaments, and if we do not start out well on the road to the next World Cup in Brazil then I fear that people might turn on him."

Andrews was sent off for a second booking before Mario Balotelli volleyed in to settle Italian nerves.

Italy still had to endure a few more anxious moments as a Croatia equaliser against Spain in the other Group C game would have meant they were out of the tournament.

But Spain won and Italy will now play the winner of Group D, which includes England.

Ireland put in a more solid performance than in their two previous defeats, although it might not be enough to stop some of their old guard calling time on their international careers, and Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Damien Duff and Richard Dunne will all be left to mull over their futures.

The Irish had beaten Italy 18 years ago to the day at the 1994 World Cup but despite starting with pace and pressuring their opponents, they suffered from some poor decision making in the final third.

Italy weathered the Republic's early enthusiasm before gradually pinning their opponents back and being rewarded for their perseverance.

Statistics

The opener came after some costly mistakes by Ireland, which started with Glenn Whelan giving the ball away to Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

Pirlo released Antonio Di Natale and he skipped over keeper Given but saw his effort from an acute angle cleared off the line by Sean St Ledger.

Ireland escaped this time but Given, so unusually uncertain at Euro 2012, quickly spilled a long range Cassano strike and the Azzurri seized on the error.

Cassano got his head to a near post Pirlo corner and although Given got a touch, the ball had already crossed the line before Duff - captain on his 100th Republic appearance - cleared.

The goal knocked the wind out of Ireland's sails and Given had to save a Di Natale shot as Italy threatened to overwhelm Giovanni Trapattoni's deflated side.

To their credit, the Republic regrouped and caused Italy some anxious moments, although only a powerful 25-yard shot from Andrews called Buffon into any serious action.

Andrews, already booked in the first half, was sent off after picking up a second yellow card.

Republic's 100 cap crew

  • Shay Given (125)
  • Robbie Keane (119)
  • Kevin Kilbane (110)
  • Steve Staunton (102)
  • Damien Duff (100)

He then furiously kicked out at the ball on his way off as he epitomised the frustrations of so many in the Ireland camp after a tournament in which they were comprehensively outplayed.

And Ireland's misery was compounded when Balotelli, side on to goal and with a defender in close attendance, volleyed in from a late corner.

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (6)

Italy

  • 01 Buffon Booked
  • 03 Chiellini (Bonucci - 57' )
  • 06 Balzaretti Booked
  • 07 Abate
  • 15 Barzagli
  • 05 Motta
  • 08 Marchisio
  • 16 De Rossi Booked
  • 21 Pirlo
  • 10 Cassano (Diamanti - 62' )
  • 11 Di Natale (Balotelli - 74' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Sirigu
  • 14 De Sanctis
  • 02 Maggio
  • 04 Ogbonna
  • 19 Bonucci
  • 13 Giaccherini
  • 18 Montolivo
  • 22 Diamanti
  • 23 Nocerino
  • 09 Balotelli
  • 17 Borini
  • 20 Giovinco

Republic of Ireland

  • 01 Given
  • 02 St Ledger Booked
  • 03 Ward
  • 04 O'Shea Booked
  • 05 Dunne
  • 06 Whelan
  • 07 McGeady (Long - 65' )
  • 08 Andrews Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 11 Duff
  • 09 Doyle (Walters - 76' )
  • 10 Keane (Cox - 86' )

Substitutes

  • 16 Westwood
  • 23 Forde
  • 12 Kelly
  • 13 McShane
  • 18 O'Dea
  • 15 Gibson
  • 17 Hunt
  • 21 Green
  • 22 McClean
  • 14 Walters
  • 19 Long
  • 20 Cox
Ref: Cakir
Att: 44,416

Match Stats

Shots

24 9

On target

17 5

Corners

12 5

Fouls

16 23

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:13 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +2:59

Outswinging corner taken by Andrea Pirlo from the right by-line.

90:00 +2:29

Mario Balotelli has an effort at goal. Blocked by Stephen Ward. Outswinging corner taken by Andrea Pirlo, Alessandro Diamanti takes a shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in.

90:00 +1:49

Free kick awarded for a foul by Ignazio Abate on Damien Duff. Damien Duff crosses the ball in from the free kick, save made by Gianluigi Buffon.

90:00 +0:42

Corner taken by Andrea Pirlo.

89:43

Alessandro Diamanti provided the assist for the goal.

89:43 Goal scored

Goal! - Mario Balotelli - Italy 2 - 0 R Ireland Mario Balotelli gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the top left corner of the goal. Italy 2-0 Rep of Ireland.

89:33

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Alessandro Diamanti,

88:40

Daniele De Rossi restarts play with the free kick.

88:40 Dismissal

Dismissal Keith Andrews sent off.

88:38

Foul by Keith Andrews on Daniele De Rossi, free kick awarded.

87:24

Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Shay Given makes a comfortable save.

85:41

The assistant referee flags for offside against Jonathan Walters. Gianluigi Buffon takes the free kick.

84:53 Substitution

Substitution Simon Cox is brought on as a substitute for Robbie Keane.

84:53

Leonardo Bonucci produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.

83:13

Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Alessandro Diamanti.

83:13 Booking

Booking Sean St. Ledger is cautioned by the ref for dissent.

82:52

Free kick awarded for a foul by Keith Andrews on Mario Balotelli.

82:18

Damien Duff gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alessandro Diamanti. Direct free kick taken by Ignazio Abate.

80:55

Robbie Keane is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Andrea Barzagli restarts play with the free kick.

80:22

Foul by Jonathan Walters on Federico Balzaretti, free kick awarded. Gianluigi Buffon takes the free kick.

79:10

The ball is crossed by Stephen Ward, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Jonathan Walters misses to the right of the target. The assistant referee flags for offside against Robbie Keane. Free kick taken by Gianluigi Buffon.

77:01

Jonathan Walters fouled by Alessandro Diamanti, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Damien Duff. Keith Andrews has an effort at goal from 25 yards. Save by Gianluigi Buffon.

76:48

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mario Balotelli by John O'Shea. Free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.

75:33

Unfair challenge on Stephen Ward by Alessandro Diamanti results in a free kick. Stephen Ward takes the free kick.

75:33 Substitution

Substitution Kevin Doyle goes off and Jonathan Walters comes on.

73:54

Outswinging corner taken by Damien Duff from the left by-line. Damien Duff sends in a cross, Unfair challenge on Gianluigi Buffon by Richard Dunne results in a free kick. Gianluigi Buffon restarts play with the free kick.

73:54 Substitution

Substitution Mario Balotelli on for Antonio Di Natale.

72:47 Booking

Booking Gianluigi Buffon goes into the book.

71:24

Richard Dunne fouled by Santos Thiago Motta, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Damien Duff.

70:30

Free kick crossed right-footed by Glenn Whelan, Ignazio Abate makes a clearance.

70:30 Booking

Booking Booking for Daniele De Rossi for unsporting behaviour.

70:21

Daniele De Rossi concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin Doyle.

69:50

Daniele De Rossi fouled by Shane Long, the ref awards a free kick. Gianluigi Buffon takes the direct free kick.

69:07

Ignazio Abate challenges Robbie Keane unfairly and gives away a free kick. Stephen Ward takes the direct free kick.

68:56

Daniele De Rossi produces a cross, clearance made by Richard Dunne.

68:44

A cross is delivered by Ignazio Abate, Stephen Ward gets a block in.

67:11

John O'Shea challenges Alessandro Diamanti unfairly and gives away a free kick. Andrea Pirlo shoots direct from the free kick.

66:51

Shane Long concedes a free kick for a foul on Andrea Pirlo. Andrea Pirlo restarts play with the free kick.

66:21

Richard Dunne is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Gianluigi Buffon.

65:51

Corner from the right by-line taken by Damien Duff, Andrea Barzagli makes a clearance.

65:19

Alessandro Diamanti takes a shot. Shay Given makes a comfortable save.

64:33

Corner taken by Damien Duff from the left by-line.

64:03 Substitution

Substitution Shane Long replaces Aiden McGeady.

64:03

Effort from 25 yards by Keith Andrews. Daniele De Rossi gets a block in.

63:07

The offside flag is raised against Antonio Di Natale. Free kick taken by Sean St. Ledger. Kevin Doyle takes a shot. Save by Gianluigi Buffon.

62:32

Alessandro Diamanti concedes a free kick for a foul on Glenn Whelan. John O'Shea takes the free kick.

60:54 Substitution

Substitution Alessandro Diamanti is brought on as a substitute for Antonio Cassano.

60:54

Federico Balzaretti fouled by John O'Shea, the ref awards a free kick. Andrea Pirlo crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left by-line.

59:24

Keith Andrews has a volleyed shot. Comfortable save by Gianluigi Buffon. Unfair challenge on Santos Thiago Motta by Glenn Whelan results in a free kick. Santos Thiago Motta takes the direct free kick.

58:16

Kevin Doyle challenges Daniele De Rossi unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Santos Thiago Motta.

57:22

Claudio Marchisio has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

56:42

Foul by Damien Duff on Daniele De Rossi, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Daniele De Rossi. Foul by Richard Dunne on Antonio Cassano, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Federico Balzaretti.

56:08 Substitution

Substitution Leonardo Bonucci is brought on as a substitute for Giorgio Chiellini.

53:59

Shot by Antonio Di Natale. Save by Shay Given.

52:04

Aiden McGeady sends in a cross, Robbie Keane takes a shot. Blocked by Giorgio Chiellini. Outswinging corner taken by Damien Duff, Header by Richard Dunne from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

51:27

Free kick awarded for a foul by Claudio Marchisio on Damien Duff. Stephen Ward takes the free kick.

50:44

Shot by Daniele De Rossi from outside the box goes over the net.

49:12

A cross is delivered by John O'Shea, Effort on goal by Kevin Doyle from just inside the area clears the crossbar.

48:14

Antonio Cassano takes a shot. Blocked by Richard Dunne. Effort from just outside the box by Federico Balzaretti goes over the bar.

47:33

The ball is crossed by Andrea Pirlo, clearance made by Glenn Whelan.

47:18

Corner taken right-footed by Andrea Pirlo from the left by-line to the near post, Sean St. Ledger manages to make a clearance.

46:57

Federico Balzaretti produces a cross, Antonio Di Natale has a drilled shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in.

45:01

The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.

45:00 +0:10 Half time

Half Time It is the end of the first-half.

43:50

Giorgio Chiellini challenges Kevin Doyle unfairly and gives away a free kick. Keith Andrews restarts play with the free kick.

43:03

Inswinging corner taken by Andrea Pirlo.

42:39

Daniele De Rossi has an effort at goal. Blocked by Richard Dunne.

40:57

The assistant referee signals for offside against Robbie Keane. Giorgio Chiellini takes the indirect free kick.

39:34

Free kick awarded for a foul by Keith Andrews on Santos Thiago Motta. Gianluigi Buffon takes the direct free kick.

39:06

Unfair challenge on Aiden McGeady by Antonio Cassano results in a free kick. Shay Given restarts play with the free kick.

38:49

The ball is sent over by Antonio Cassano.

38:08

Andrea Pirlo restarts play with the free kick.

38:08 Booking

Booking John O'Shea is given a yellow card.

37:52

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Federico Balzaretti by John O'Shea.

36:36

Andrea Pirlo shoots direct from the free kick.

36:36 Booking

Booking Keith Andrews receives a yellow card.

36:11

Keith Andrews challenges Andrea Pirlo unfairly and gives away a free kick.

35:06

The assist for the goal came from Andrea Pirlo.

35:06 Goal scored

Goal! - Antonio Cassano - Italy 1 - 0 R Ireland Antonio Cassano grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Italy 1-0 Rep of Ireland.

34:33

Corner taken right-footed by Andrea Pirlo,

34:21

Shot by Antonio Cassano. Save by Shay Given.

33:53

Antonio Di Natale has an effort at goal. Clearance by Sean St. Ledger.

32:54

The ball is crossed by Ignazio Abate, Antonio Di Natale takes a shot. Blocked by Sean St. Ledger.

30:58

The assistant referee flags for offside against Federico Balzaretti. Shay Given takes the free kick.

30:00

Shot by Antonio Di Natale. Sean St. Ledger gets a block in.

28:30

Kevin Doyle challenges Andrea Barzagli unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Andrea Barzagli.

27:51

Direct free kick taken by Shay Given.

27:51 Booking

Booking The referee books Federico Balzaretti for unsporting behaviour.

27:45

Aiden McGeady fouled by Federico Balzaretti, the ref awards a free kick.

27:33

The ball is crossed by Antonio Cassano, Shot from 12 yards by Antonio Di Natale. Blocked by Sean St. Ledger.

25:33

Claudio Marchisio concedes a free kick for a foul on Damien Duff. Damien Duff delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Giorgio Chiellini by Sean St. Ledger. Direct free kick taken by Gianluigi Buffon.

25:09

Free kick awarded for a foul by Andrea Barzagli on Robbie Keane. Sean St. Ledger takes the direct free kick.

23:44

The ball is delivered by Damien Duff, Header by Sean St. Ledger from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.

23:12

Damien Duff decides to take the corner short.

21:22

Aiden McGeady delivers the ball.

20:11

Aiden McGeady is ruled offside. Direct free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.

17:50

Kevin Doyle fouled by Giorgio Chiellini, the ref awards a free kick. Aiden McGeady crosses the ball in from the free kick, free kick awarded for a foul by Richard Dunne on Andrea Barzagli. Gianluigi Buffon restarts play with the free kick.

17:07

Shot from just outside the box by Federico Balzaretti goes over the bar.

16:48

Corner taken short by Andrea Pirlo.

14:27

The ball is delivered by Antonio Cassano, Sean St. Ledger makes a clearance.

11:47

The assistant referee signals for offside against Aiden McGeady. Daniele De Rossi takes the free kick.

11:07

Federico Balzaretti fouled by Robbie Keane, the ref awards a free kick. Federico Balzaretti restarts play with the free kick.

10:45

Corner taken by Andrea Pirlo from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Aiden McGeady.

10:20

Corner taken right-footed by Andrea Pirlo, Richard Dunne manages to make a clearance.

10:15

The ball is swung over by Antonio Cassano, clearance made by John O'Shea.

9:30

Antonio Di Natale concedes a free kick for a foul on Keith Andrews. Shay Given takes the direct free kick.

9:15

Keith Andrews challenges Andrea Pirlo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.

8:34

A cross is delivered by Andrea Pirlo, Keith Andrews manages to make a clearance.

8:13

Corner taken short by Andrea Pirlo.

8:01

The ball is sent over by Federico Balzaretti, Richard Dunne manages to make a clearance.

6:37

Corner taken by Andrea Pirlo.

4:38

Keith Andrews gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrea Pirlo. Gianluigi Buffon restarts play with the free kick.

2:44

Federico Balzaretti concedes a free kick for a foul on Damien Duff. Free kick crossed by Damien Duff.

0:48

Antonio Di Natale crosses the ball, Daniele De Rossi has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

0:00

The match gets underway.

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