The Back of the Net boys report on Italy 2-0 Republic of Ireland...
There were scenes of great relief as Italy overcame the Republic of Ireland 2-0 to book a place in the quarter-finals and earn the right to use a devastating array of football clichÃÂ©s.
Anything, except for Irish qualification, was possible heading into the final games in Group C and Italy knew that they needed to win and hope Spain and Croatia didnÃ¢ÂÂt draw 2-2 in order to progress.
The Italian press had voiced fears that Spain and Croatia would collude to engineer a suitable scoreline but the two nationsÃ¢ÂÂ unimpeachable footballing principles and the lack of a mutually comprehensible language put paid to that threat.
But Italy found it tough to secure the three points they needed. Despite spending much of the game unsure where he was, which team he was coaching and if the Kingdom of Two Sicilies had been integrated into the Italian Union, wily 200-year-old Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni made life hard for his countrymen with Italy struggling to victory courtesy of goals from Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli.
It was clear just how much the victory meant to an Italian side who were knocked out of World Cup 2010 at the group stage, before theyÃ¢ÂÂd had a chance to demonstrate even a fraction of the clichÃÂ©s they are capable of.
"At the end of the day, BrianÃ¢ÂÂ¦"
Ã¢ÂÂOur Euro starts here,Ã¢ÂÂ Cassano declared in the post-match press conference. Ã¢ÂÂI really feel that we can go all the way and we fear nobody.
Ã¢ÂÂOn a personal level it was great for me to score because IÃ¢ÂÂm a striker and strikers love scoring goals.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂOn a day like today itÃ¢ÂÂs the result that counts,Ã¢ÂÂ coach Cesare Prandelli asserted. Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂll be taking each game as it comes and wonÃ¢ÂÂt be getting carried away just yet but winning is a habit and while we didnÃ¢ÂÂt get out of first gear you can only beat whatÃ¢ÂÂs out there.Ã¢ÂÂ
FourFourTwo is still awaiting TrapattoniÃ¢ÂÂs post-match comments, which he tends to communicate via pigeon post.
More match reports from Back of the Net:
CRO 0-1 SPA: Spain no longer any good, pundits revealPOR 2-1 HOL: Things starting to look bad for Dutch, admits Van Marwijk
GRE 1-0 RUS: UEFA hope Greece forget to claim their quarter-final slot
POL 0-1 CZE: Polish celebratory vodka repurposed as misery vodka
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