game at a glance
man of the match
Seamus Coleman (Ireland)
France turned it on in the second half but Coleman, the stand-in Irish captain, managed to keep a cool head under pressure and cut off some attacks. He's grown in stature during this tournament.
How exactly did UEFA get away with manufacturing a situation where the winners of France's group would get a week off between the group stage and round of 16 in addition to the lion's share of tickets? Emotion can overtake reason in these instances but neutral observers cannot get their head around it.
Just before half-time, a French attack was thwarted by Irish bodies throwing themselves in front of the ball. First Stephen Ward, and then Shane Duffy. It looked as though something magic was unfolding. Alas, cruel reality lay around the corner.
Italian whistler Nicola Rizzoli was under a bit of pressure given the history of this game and that might have played on his mind when he gave a first-minute penalty. He didn't have a great match, though, despite appearing to quite enjoy the spotlight as he produced a couple of yellow cards. It was baffling that all the officials missed a clear Irish corner from Stephen Ward's shot. However, Rizzoli had no option but to dismiss Duffy when he took one for the team.
Shots On Goal
France 24 Ireland 6
Shots On Target
France 10 Ireland 2
France 107.1km Ireland 104.7km
France prepare for a quarter-final with England or Iceland next Sunday. Ireland dust themselves down for an autumn World Cup qualifying campaign which starts with a trip to Serbia. The next game, however, is an August 31 date at home to Oman which will bring everyone back down to earth. And wonder why Ireland are playing Oman again. D McD