Thursday 29 September 2016

Seamus Coleman keeps believing as Republic of Ireland target victory over Italy

Published 22/06/2016 | 08:06

Seamus Coleman hopes the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 campaign continues beyond the Italy game
Seamus Coleman hopes the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 campaign continues beyond the Italy game

Seamus Coleman has put the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 nightmare at the hands of Belgium firmly behind him as he targets salvation against Italy.

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Ireland were torn apart in the second half of Saturday's clash with the Belgians in Bordeaux as Marc Wilmots' star-studded side cut loose after the break and coasted to a 3-0 victory.

Martin O'Neill's men contributed to their own downfall on an afternoon when they failed to reach the standards they have set themselves in recent times.

However, Coleman insists that will be ancient history when they run out at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on Wednesday night needing to beat the Italians to extend their stay at the tournament.

He said: "We were massively disappointed after the Belgium game. We lost 3-0 and something we pride ourselves on is how compact we are and they broke away on us a few times.

"But as soon as that game was over, me personally - we were beaten, there was nothing we could have done about it - I knew we had a big task ahead.

"We had to forget about it as quickly as possible, obviously go over things that we did wrong, but we had too big a job to dwell on it and there's no better way to fix it than play a game of football tomorrow against Italy."

The game represents a clash between the sides currently sitting at the top and bottom of Group E with Antonio Conte's men in an unassailable position after victories over Belgium and Sweden and Ireland having managed just a point from their opening two fixtures.

Only a win will give the Republic any hope of making the last 16, although the players know they have a chance to write a new chapter in the country's football history.

Coleman said: "Yes, definitely. You look back over the years and you have seen players making names for themselves, making themselves heroes amongst the Irish fans and it's obviously something that you dream about.

"But that's the end-game. Hopefully that will be the case, but it's a case of whatever players the manager picks have to go out there and put in the hard graft for the 90 minutes and then the rest will come.

"But it's definitely an opportunity and the full squad believes that we can get four points out of this group."

Press Association

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