Italy Wins 2-0 Against Republic Ireland (35` Cassano, 90` Balotelli), while Spain beat Croatia 1-0.
By this results Spain gain first place in group C and Italy earns second.
Wait for tomorrow to know next opponent.
Italy have qualified for the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 as Group C runners-up thanks to a narrow 2-0 victory over Republic of Ireland in Poznan on Monday evening.
Cesare Prandelli’s men were on top for the majority of the first half, and a header from Antonio Cassano ten minutes before half-time gave the Azzurri a lead to hold on to for a long period of time. Mario Balotelli then stepped up to seal the victory moments before the final whistle with a typically dramatic finish from just outside the six-yard box.
Italy came extremely close to taking the lead on the half-hour mark when Federico Balzaretti went on a marauding run down the left-hand side and reversed a pass into the area for Di Natale. The Udinese forward then swivelled sharply and hooked a strike at goal, but Sean St Ledger was on hand to make a brave block with his chest from six yards.
This was a period of real dominance for Prandelli’s side in the match, and they nearly took the lead again moments later when Di Natale took the ball beyond Shay Given and attempted to twist a shot over the line from a tight angle, but Richard Dunne sprinted back to make a terrific clearance off the line.
Ireland failed to weather the storm, however, and went behind in the 38th minute thanks to a headed goal from Cassano. Andrea Pirlo whipped in a dangerous cross to the near post from a corner kick and his former Milan team-mate bulleted a header at goal that just squeezed over the line, with Given and Damien Duff’s attempts to clear off the line proving to be futile.
Italy came bursting out of the blocks after the break, and should have doubled their lead just four minutes into the half when Balzaretti again showed impressive skill down the left to cut a pass back into the danger area, but Cassano’s eventual strike at goal from 10 yards lacked conviction, and Dunne managed to clear the ball up the park.
The introduction of Shane Long midway through the second half gave Ireland the kick that they needed to up the tempo of their play, with the strength and movement and of West Brom striker causing real problems for the nervy Italian defence. A succession of corner kicks in a five minute period from Trapattoni’s men had the Azzurri looking shaky, but their best chance in this period of dominance came when Keith Andrews powered a strike at goal from long range, but Buffon was equal to it and managed to palm the ball to safety.
It all unravelled for Ireland towards the end of the match as in the space of a couple of minutes, Keith Andrews was given a second yellow card for kicking the ball away in frustration, and then substitute Balotelli stepped up to score Italy’s second goal with a fantastic bicycle kick just outside the six-yard box.
This victory sees Italy move on to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, and will face the winners of Group of D. Republic of Ireland are heading home from Poland and Ukraine without have registered a point in the group.
Antonio Di Natale, who netted in the Azzurri's tournament opener against Spain, will make his first start of the tournament after being paired with Antonio Cassano up front.
Elsewhere, the expected switch in formation from 3-5-2 to 4-3-1-2 sees Daniele De Rossi return in midfield alongside Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio, with Thiago Motta moved forward into the trequartista role.
Federico Balzaretti takes over from Emanuele Giaccherini on the left-hand side of the defence, Christian Maggio makes way for Ignazio Abate on the opposite flank, while Giorgio Chiellini has been paired with fit-again Juventus team-mate Andrea Barzagli in the centre.
Italy must defeat the Irish and hope that qualification rivals Spain and Croatia do not draw 2-2 or higher in Gdansk if they are to progress to the last eight.
Italy (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Balzaretti; De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio; Motta; Cassano, Di Natale.
Poznan, June 18, 2012 -'' I am very peaceful. We have courage and character.'' These the words of Cesare Prandelli RaiSport Speaking to a few hours before the meeting with the Republic of Ireland, decisive race to qualify for the European Championship quarterfinals.
coach has explained why it did not send Training: "Trapattoni knows us all too well because I give him other advantages. I'm glad that Xavi has praised Italy, in fact we would go on playing football, the idea is always to build the game.''
Prandelli He reiterated that it would take a different climate to accompany consignments:'' The tension? No problem of course, you do so many games before. Each time it would take a bit 'of irony. But sometimes criticized even before we have thought. The shock absorbing them know, because the team has character.''
Despite acknowledging there is room for improvement from his side, midfielder Claudio Marchisio is confident Italy can reach the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-finals by overcoming a "gritty" Republic of Ireland team.
Italy have won over many a neutral with their free-flowing football so far during this tournament but, ahead of their final Group C match, the Azzurri have yet to register a victory. Trailing pacesetters Spain and Croatia by two points, Italy need a win on Monday to stand any chance of reaching the last eight, a target Marchisio believes is well within their compass.
"The squad is united," he told UEFA.com. "We've got a great group here, even if we didn't manage to win against Spain or Croatia. We'll try to get through the group by giving it everything we've got. Although we're third, we have a great chance of qualifying. We just need to worry about our own game and what we must do to beat Ireland."
Though Giovanni Trapattoni's side are not in contention for a place in the knockout stage, Marchisio knows they will be no pushovers. He was, after all, in the side beaten 2-0 by Ireland just over a year ago in a Liege friendly.
"It won't be an easy match, even if they are out already, because they are a very gritty side," said Marchisio. "We played them last summer and it didn't go well. That was a friendly match and our approach will be different this time, as will the result I hope."
While Italy have struggled to score, their play has been eye-catching. Marchisio has epitomised their high-tempo style with the sort of tireless performances that helped Juventus win the Serie A title this season, and which have made the 26-year-old the top Castrol EDGE Index performer in both of the Azzurri's matches.
"In the role of left midfield, or wing-back, you have to help out in defence and in building attacks to support the strikers," he explained. "You have to know how to conserve your energy, though, as you do a lot of running and it isn't easy to remain clear-headed when you find yourself in a scoring position or well-placed to pass to a team-mate."
Marchisio was denied by Iker Casillas towards the end of Italy's draw with Spain and was twice thwarted by Stipe Pletikosa on Friday, but the man known as Tardellino (little Tardelli) – after former Italy and Bianconeri midfielder Marco Tardelli, now Trapattoni's assistant – has not been discouraged by his failure to find the net. "The fact I've had a few shots on goal gives me great confidence for the coming games. If I wasn't getting into the penalty area or having any shots on goal, then that would be a problem."
In order to triumph in Poznan, Marchisio believes Italy need to avoid dropping as deep as they did against Croatia. Any lapse, after all, will be punished by a side coached by one of the greatest tacticians of them all. "Trapattoni is a legend, not just of Italian but of world football. I've never been coached by him but he has achieved so many great things with many big clubs: Juventus, Inter and the national team.
"He has managed to bring his ideas and tactical knowledge to Ireland, who were struggling before he arrived. They missed out in qualifying for the World Cup by a whisker and made it this far, so he has done a great job."
Italy played 12 official games against Republic of Ireland that first one was a 3-0 win on 21/03/1926 and last one was a 0-2 lost on 07/06/2011.
Italy record 7 win, 2 draws and 2 loses versus Republic Of Ireland.
|21/03/1926||Turin||Italy||3:0 (3:0)||Irish Free State|
|08/12/1970||Florence||Italy||3:0 (2:0)||Republic of Ireland|
|10/05/1971||Dublin||Republic of Ireland||1:2 (1:1)||Italy|
|05/02/1985||Dublin||Republic of Ireland||1:2 (0:2)||Italy|
|30/06/1990||Rome||Italy||1:0 (1:0)||Republic of Ireland|
|04/06/1992||Foxboro||Republic of Ireland||0:2 (0:1)||Italy|
|18/06/1994||New York/New Jersey||Italy||0:1 (0:1)||Republic of Ireland|
|17/08/2005||Dublin||Republic of Ireland||1:2 (1:2)||Italy|
|01/04/2009||Bari||Italy||1:1 (1:0)||Republic of Ireland|
|10/10/2009||Dublin||Republic of Ireland||2:2 (1:1)||Italy|
|07/06/2011||Liege||Italy||0:2 (0:1)||Republic of Ireland|
Progress from Group C is out of Italy's hands, but Cesare Prandelli is convinced his side can do their bit against the Republic of Ireland in his "most important game" as a coach.
Cesare Prandelli picked his words very carefully when discussing Italy's must-win game against the Republic of Ireland – and he is convinced a considered approach will be necessary to keep Azzurri hopes alive at UEFA EURO 2012.
Prandelli knows that victory is mandatory against an already eliminated Ireland side, but even then Italy are not assured a quarter-final place. A draw of 2-2 or more between Croatia and Spain in Group C's other deciding match would mean those two sides progressing. A cliche it may be, but Prandelli was keen to emphasise that is side are "solely focused on the result in our game", adding: "I'm sure we have the means at our disposal to go and win it."
With much conjecture surrounding the make-up of Prandelli's starting XI – in terms of personnel and system – the 54-year-old said no matter who and how his side take to the field, they would be prepared. "You don't pluck decisions out of the air," he argued. "You always consider these choices and think about them very clearly. The actual way you play needs to be very flexible."
While he was candid enough to admit this is his "most important game" as a coach, he believes that the philosophy he is engendering within the squad will bring its just deserts. "I think we played very well against Croatia," he said of Italy's 1-1 draw on Thursday. "You need to go out and earn your luck and you do that by playing expansive football." He may have to do without Mario Balotelli, who has picked up a slight knee problem, in attack, while Andrea Barzagli could return at the back.
After two defeats, Ireland are "playing for the honour of the nation" according to Giovanni Trapattoni. Even though you may not realise it from observing their relentlessly cheerful fans, to say it has been a disappointing campaign for Trapattoni's team would be to put it mildly. Regrets, he has a few, but he added: "Now it's important to have the same mentality as in qualification – start with 100% concentration and avoid goals in the first minutes."
Despite calls for changes ahead of their last UEFA EURO 2012 outing, Trapattoni is sticking with "the same team that got us here out of respect for the players". He is impressed with the job done by Prandelli – whom he used to coach as a player at Juventus – saying: "He's done a very good job, changed around the personnel and given the squad a sense of professionalism, of respect – he's demonstrated he's very wise."
Prandelli's esteem for Trapattoni – "the boss" – is clear and he is expecting nothing less than a stern test from the 73-year-old's team. "It's a side we need to be wary of – they have a lot of national pride." That said, Prandelli believes his team "have the quality and skill" to prevail; whether it will be enough, not even his measured approach can control.
Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has called on his team-mates to focus solely on their must-win Euro 2012 clash with the Republic of Ireland and ignore the speculation that Spain and Croatia could conspire to play out a mutually-beneficial draw in the other game in Group C.
The Azzurri will bow out of the tournament should their qualification rivals draw by a score of 2-2 or higher in Gdansk but the versatile Juventus centre-back believes Cesare Prandelli's men must only worry about their own game.
"We should focus only on Ireland," Chiellini told reporters at a press conference on Monday evening.
"Maybe you see it differently from the outside, but our only objective is to win and not think about good luck, bad luck or anything else.
"We played two good games against excellent teams and must simply improve on a few errors we made at the front and the back. If we win, then a new tournament can begin for us."
Speculation is rife that Italy boss Prandelli will switch from the 3-5-2 formation deployed against Spain and Croatia to a 4-3-1-2 for the meeting with the Irish but Chiellini has insisted that that the potential formation change will not make much difference to him.
"It’s all the same for me," the 27-year-old explained. "In previous years I almost always played in a four-man defence.
"I have had a long career and we’ve all played in various systems, so we have shown our versatility. The important thing is to remain balanced.
"I’ve already played with most of my team-mates and we’ve been training for a month to ensure we’re all on the same page. When that is the case, it gives you an advantage in any tactical approach."
Italy's encounter with Giovanni Trapattoni's side will get under way at 20:45CET.
Claudio Marchisio has urged Italy to start taking their chances in front of goal on Monday, when the side take on Republic of Ireland in their Group C clash at Euro 2012.
The Azzurri are at risk of falling at the first hurdle in consecutive tournaments, having drawn with Spain and Croatia in their opening two fixtures and sitting two points behind the duo with only one round of matches in the pool left.
However, they gained plaudits for their impressive starts against their rivals, only to see their leads slip and a string of missed opportunities suffice. With this in mind, Marchisio took the time to offer an explanation for their profligacy.
"Two draws like in 2010? I do not want to think [about the World Cup] at all, it would be a bad thing for the team to think about," he said at a press conference.
"I have to say that in the two games we've played, the team have put some good moves together, but we have not taken enough risks to score.
"This Italy reminds me of Juventus, who drew too many times during mid-season. With Juve, as the campaign wore on, we began to exploit more and more opportunities, little by little.
"We hope to be able to do the same with Italy."
The Juventus ace has too been guilty of not putting his chances away, with two close-range efforts in their last match being denied by Stipe Pletikosa, but he is more concerned about the team, as a collective unit, functioning properly in the final third.
"I have had many scoring opportunities in these games, but at the moment, the most important thing is to score against Ireland.
"Winning is all that matters. Personally, I believe we will not suffer at all from the pressure. We are a team with many players who know how it feels to be a world champion."
"It has not [been a disappointment]. Certainly on paper it was hoped that things would be better, but in competitions like this, you often start by meeting teams with lesser quality, and they are more difficult to break down."
Marchisio then responded to Xavi's pre-match quip that Spain would overcome Croatia in their last group match to seal progression, thereby dismissing the notion of a potential conspiracy. The 26-year-old, though, is not resting on his laurels.
"Xavi said that Spain would beat Croatia? I believe him, but we mustn't necessarily believe it," he said at a press conference.
"Can Croatia take the game to Spain? The Iberians are definitely favourites as they are superior to Croatia.
"Still, they are a good team. I was very impressed by Modric."
Team-mate Mario Balotelli has seen his campaign sadly tarnished by allegations of racist incidents in both of Italy's Group C fixtures to date, with derogatory chants being heard against Spain and a banana allegedly thrown onto the pitch by Croatia supporters.
Nonetheless, Marchisio is expecting the 21-year-old to break through the shackles and put in his best performance yet for Italy at the European Championship against the Boys in Green.
"We see that when all is not well [with Balotelli] he keeps it all inside of him," he continued.
"In my view, he should be brimming with confidence for the third game, even if he has to understand that sooner or later he may lose his chance.
"Racism? It does not take so much intelligence to realise that these things must be condemned."
Finally, Marchisio gave his backing to Juventus' pursuit of Udinese duo Kwadwo Asamoah and Mauricio Isla, who should line up in the colours of the Old Lady next season.
"I see the arrivals of Asamoah and Isla as positives. It is good to have squad depth. I'm sure that next season we will do well in Europe, we will not go there just to make up the numbers."
Kick-off against Ireland on Monday is scheduled for 20:45CET.
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has stated that he will stand by under-fire striker Mario Balotelli and that he expects a reaction from him in the side's next Euro 2012 game against Republic of Ireland.
The Manchester City attacker has not been at his best in Ukraine and Poland as yet, and the press in his homeland have been calling for Antonio Di Natale to start alongside Antonio Cassano instead.
Despite this, the Azzurri coach has revealed that he expects Balotelli to come good against Giovanni Trapattoni's team.
" I talked with Mario for 15 minutes, but I still could not make him do what I wanted him to," Prandelli told reporters.
"If you love someone you must speak clearly. I will not abandon him; I played him when all the press wanted him on the bench.
"What are we waiting for? [On Monday] I expect a big reaction," he confessed.
The game against Ireland kicks off at 20:45CET on Monday.
Former Italy striker Pierluigi Casiraghi is confident that his country will qualify from Euro 2012 Group C, and says the Azzurri should share his optimism.
Cesare Prandelli's side have drawn both of their games in the tournament so far, and need to beat Republic of Ireland in their final group game on Monday and hope Croatia are beaten by Spain to progress.
Despite leaving it to the last game to assure their passage to the next round, the ex-Chelsea hitman feels the side will make the quarter-finals.
"The Azzurri must believe in qualification," Casiraghi Radio Mana Mana Sport.
"Italy must beat Ireland and then see what the result is in the other game.
"Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland don't look that good, while Spain are clearly better than Croatia. Spain will play their natural game and both sides will target the win.
"The game against Croatia left a bitter taste in the mouth. However, there is still one match to go and nothing has been compromised," he concluded.
The game against Trapattoni's side kicks off at 20:45CET on Monday.