Euro 2012 Group C: Italy 2-0 Ireland | inside World Soccer

Euro 2012 Group C: Italy 2-0 Ireland

[Tuesday, June 19, 2012 ]

Italy advanced to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 as Group C runners-up thanks to a 2-0 win over 10-man Republic of Ireland in Poznań.

Italy forward Antonio Cassano heads in the opening goal past Irish goalkeeper Shay Given
Italy forward Antonio Cassano heads in the opening goal past Irish goalkeeper Shay Given

Photo: AP

Giovanni Trapattoni's men looked set to drag the Azzurri out of the competition alongside them during a forgettable first 35 minutes, but then Italy came to life.

Andrea Pirlo's corner-kick was glanced on at the near post by Antonio Cassano and the ball drifted over the line despite Damien Duff's best efforts on the goal line.

Ireland came mightily close to restoring parity on 55 minutes when Keith Andrews powered a strike at goal from long range, but Gianluigi Buffon was equal to it and managed to palm the ball to safety.

However, it all turned sour at the death as Andrews, who had earlier been booked for a foul, received a second yellow card for dissent.

And seconds later substitute Mario Balotelli made the game safe after wrapping his shot around defender John O'Shea in mid air as he met a corner kick from Alessandro Diamanti.

Italy will now meet the Group D winners on Sunday in Kiev with France, England and co-hosts Ukraine among the possible opponents.

Lineups:

Italy: Gianluigi Buffon; Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini (Leonardo Bonucci, 57), Federico Balzaretti; Andrea Pirlo; Claudio Marchisio, Thiago Motta, Daniele De Rossi; Antonio Di Natale (Mario Balotelli, 74), Antonio Cassano (Alessandro Diamanti, 62)

Ireland: Shay Given; John O'Shea, Sean St Ledger, Richard Dunne, Stephen Ward; Aiden McGeady (Shane Long, 65), Glenn Whelan, Keith Andrews, Damien Duff; Kevin Doyle (Jon Walters, 76), Robbie Keane (Simon Cox, 86)



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