Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Euro 2016: Group E Conclusion: Rep of Ireland 1-0 Italy; Belgium 1-0 Sweden

The Irish left it late, but their last game was their best, and they deserved their win. Denied a stonewall, brick wall, and every other kind of wall penalty in the first half, Hoolahan's miss with five to go looked like that was that. But Hoolahan returned a minute later with a pinpoint cross that enabled Robbie Brady to head himself into immortality.

Sweden were generally, specifically and actually awful all tournament long, Belgium's second win drew them level at the top of the group with the Italians, who knew that whatever happened tonight, they were through as group winners.

And their reward for that success? A last 16 tie against holders Spain.

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