Euro 2016: Brady’s late goal fires Ireland into last 16

Late winner for Ireland puts them through to the knockout stages for the first time with a 1-0 win over Italy

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Robbie Brady scored a glorious late winner for Ireland to put them through to the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time with a 1-0 win over Group E winners Italy.

Brady scored his 85th minute headed goal from a pinpoint cross by his Norwich City club mate Wes Hoolahan, who had just spurned a golden opportunity to seal the well-deserved victory himself.

It delivered Irish football one of its most famous nights against a second-string Italy side, with the three points securing third place in the group and setting up a last-16 tie against hosts France in Lyon on Sunday.

“It’s what dreams are made of. I grew up dreaming about this stage and to go and do it in front of my family is the best feeling in the world,” said Brady, who reckoned that scoring the goal felt like “an out of body” experience.

“All applause is for Wes Hoolahan. He put the ball right on my head. I would have done well to miss it. We rode our luck a couple of times, but we got the result in the end.

“If we stick together like we did tonight, we can take on anyone.”

With his team already guaranteed to top the group, Antonio Conte made eight changes, with only Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Alessandro Florenzi surviving fron the side that started against Sweden.