Richard Dunne: The time has come to get revenge on France
Richard Dunne has urged Martin O’Neill and his Republic of Ireland players to target revenge against France in Sunday’s Euro 2016 showdown with host nation France in Lyon.
Robbie Brady’s dramatic late winner against Italy in Ireland’s final Group E match in Lille set-up a mouth-watering last-16 clash, with Dunne recalling an infamous meeting with France that should fuel Irish ambitions this weekend.
Dunne was present as Thierry Henry's handball was decisive in Ireland's defeat in the 2010 World Cup playoff second leg in Paris and he is hoping that this could be a moment to correct that injustice.
“We will go to play the French without a fear in the world and we have a little bit of history with them to feed off. We owe them one,” said Dunne, in his role as an ITV pundit.
“Probably, we are not expected to do much in the game, but we will go there and on tonight’s performance, I really believe Ireland can give them a game. I really believe we have come across a way of playing.
“They have shown that they can go and play freely, go and attack France and don’t worry about them. The energy they showed tonight is going to trouble most teams in the competition.
“Getting through the group stage is brilliant for Ireland. That is what we wanted an expected and anything from here now is a bonus.”
Dunne went on to hail the Irish performance as they beat Italy, with his joy evident as he toasted a memorable night for O’Neill’s heroes.
“We were absolutely fantastic,” he added. “That is as big as anything we did at the World Cup 94 or Euro 88. The performance of the team was fantastic and the fans are delighted that they can stay on and have a longer party.
“Goals at the last don’t really happen for Ireland. It always feels like everything is against us, but it was a great moment for Robbie Brady.
“There has been such bad press and negativity around them since Saturday (3-0 Belgium defeat), but they turned it around and produced a great performance.
“People will say this was not the strongest Italy team, but we would have beaten their best team tonight. Ireland were so good in every department and everything they didn’t do at the weekend, they did it this time.
“They stopped Italy playing, they created chances and they got their rewards at the end. It was a great night for everyone.
“It felt like we missed our chance when Wes (Hoolahan) missed his chance. You think it has gone then, but he lifted himself and a few seconds later, he put that ball into the box.
“Robbie Brady has been fantastic in the three games in this competition and he got his rewards tonight.”