Italy 2 – 0 Ireland

Man of the Match: Sean St Ledger While Ireland were unable to keep Italy at bay, St Ledger did a superb job of frustrating them. The Leicester centre-back made several blocks to deny Antonio Di Natale at close quarters as well as clearing off the line from the striker.

Italy verdict: It was a nervy night for Italy as they allowed Ireland to put in their best performance of the tournament, and had Giovanni Trapattoni’s men made one of their chances count it could have resulted in an early exit. Nonetheless, having entered the Euros in poor form, Italy rallied well to draw with Spain and then Croatia and were deserving winners against Ireland.

Ireland verdict: Having entered the tournament with 11 clean sheets in their previous 14 games, Ireland conceded nine goals in their three games at Euro 2012 and they have been surprisingly susceptible from set-pieces. Against Italy, it was two corners that proved their undoing, but their overall performance was much improved and a 2-0 defeat was perhaps a harsh reflection on their efforts.

Could do better: Antonio Di Natale Finally given a start, the veteran was unable to take his chances, even if he did see an excellent effort cleared off the line. With Mario Balotelli having delivered after coming on as a substitute, it may be that he sits out the next match.

Stat attack: Ireland conceded nine goals in the group stage – only Yugoslavia in 1984, with ten, have conceded more.

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