By Andy Jones
- Ex-United trainee Robbie Brady scores winning goal for Republic of Ireland
- Matteo Darmian starts game on the bench
Norwich City midfielder Robbie Brady scored an 85th minute winner against Italy. The win sees Republic of Ireland qualify for the last sixteen where they will face France.
Lille was the setting for a key game in group E which the Irish has to win to progress into the knockout stage. With the stadium packed full of Irish fans, the team were spurred on against a strong Italian side, even with the changes made by Chelsea bound Antonio Conte.
Despite Italy having more of the ball, it was the Irish, spurred on by Martin O’Neil who created the better chances, and could have had a penalty in the first half.
As the game progressed the Italians seemed happy with a point, as the green army pressed for the all important goal.
Darmian came on for his second appearance at these finals in the 60th minute, replacing Bernardeschi.
In the 85th minute the cheers in Dublin could be heard in France as Hoolahan provided an inch perfect cross for Robbie Brady to head home, and spark pandemonium in the stands.
The Irish hung on for the remaining five minutes for a famous victory.
They now join the other home nations in the next round and will face favourites France in Lyon on Sunday, while Italy now have a crunch tie against Spain on Monday in Saint-Denis.
Republic join last sixteen party
The wins means that the Republic of Ireland have extended their stay in France and join England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the last sixteen.
Wales and Northern Ireland face each other in the last sixteen. Meaning at least of the home nations will be the final eight teams once the last sixteen ties have been played.
While should both England and Republic of Ireland win their last sixteen ties they face each other in the quarter-finals.