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FT Italy 2 – 0 Republic of Ireland

FT Italy 2 – 0 Republic of Ireland

So it’s all change for Italy. Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Federico Balzaretti, Antonio Di Natale come in. Out go Leonardo Bonucci, Mario Balotelli and the wing-backs Christian Maggio and Emanuele Giaccherini. For Ireland, Kevin Doyle gets another start, but, as expected, there’s no experimentation from Trapattoni.

At 35′, Ireland couldn’t clear after Di Natale’s clever shot from the byline. Italy won a corner, Cassano got across his marker and flicked a header that pinged off Given and dropped down over the line before Damien Duff could clear. 1-0 for Italy.

A wonderful, wonderful goal came from the Manchester City striker at 90′. A corner swung in and an acrobatic volley crisper and sweeter than a Granny Smith apple. 2-0 for Italy.

So Italy go on to face whoever finishes atop Group D, be it England, France or Ukraine. They wobbled in the opening 20-odd minutes and almost shattered in the final 15, but they survived in the end.


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