Euro 2016 last 16: Ireland seeking revenge as they collide with host nation France
Lee Gormley | June 24, 2016
France v Republic of Ireland
- Euro 2016 last 16
- Sunday, June 26th
- Kick-off: 14:00 BST
- Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Decines
- Live on ITV
Ireland tackle hosts France
Following a dramatic victory over Italy, the Republic of Ireland’s reward for reaching the knockout stage of Euro 2016 is a last 16 encounter with host nation France, as the Boys in Green look for their first victory over Les Bleus since 1981.
The meeting on Sunday will mark the first time these two nations have collided since the Irish were infamously beaten in a World Cup qualifier thanks to a blatant Thierry Henry handball, while the French are unbeaten in their last five encounters with their next opponents.
Martin O’Neill’s men secured an incredible 1-0 triumph over the Azzurri to clinch a spot in the last 16 as one of the best third-placed group sides, with Robbie Brady heading in a last-gasp winner and they are now 19/5 with Coral to progress past France.
Although, Didier Deschamps’ host nation negotiated their group unbeaten, overcoming both Romania and Albania then drawing with Switzerland, and they are 21/5 to prevail and both teams score here.
Revenge in sight for Irish
That controversial extra-time defeat in 2009 will still be on the minds of many fans as the Emerald Isle enter this latest meeting with Les Bleus, and avenging such a loss on French soil would be the perfect scenario.
With the tournament now in the knockout stage, extra-time and penalties are on the cards for each clash and the French are 8/1 to once again prevail after 90 minutes has been played out in Decines, while Ireland are 28/1 to earn another dramatic late win.
The lottery of penalty shoot-outs always brings with it plenty of thrills and spills and the host nation are 12/1 to emerge victorious on spot-kicks, with O’Neill’s gallant Boys in Green 14/1 to edge into the quarter-finals via that route.
Italy match-winner Brady seeking more heroics
Norwich City wideman Brady became an instant national hero with his header sending Ireland into the Euro knockout stages for the first time in their history, and he is 4/1 to net again anytime within 90 minutes.
Fellow Canaries playmaker Wes Hoolahan missed a great chance to strike the winner before Brady eventually scored last time out, though he truly redeemed himself with the perfect delivery for his teammate to head in and the Dubliner is 11/2 to bag his second goal of the campaign.
Southampton striker Shane Long has endured much frustration leading the Irish attack so far but the Saints forward is 11/4 to get off the mark in France within normal time, having been battling gallantly up front for his country so far.
Ireland’s all-time marksman Robbie Keane was on target in that last defeat to France seven years ago and the LA Galaxy frontman is 10/1 to bag the game’s final goal, having been limited to late substitute outings this summer.
Payet poses key threat to Ireland
West Ham United attacker Dimitri Payet has been the star of the show for France so far, firing in two late goals in group wins over Romania and Albania, and the dynamic playmaker is 5/1 to hurt Irish hopes by netting last this time out.
Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann have both already opened their Euro 2016 accounts and will hope to add to them against the Irish, making the Arsenal and Atletico Madrid marksmen both 6/5 to find the target inside normal time.
Juventus midfield maestro Paul Pogba has enjoyed impressive performance so far too, despite being dropped during group proceedings, and he is 10/3 to get his name on the scoresheet this time around, with Manchester United youngster Anthony Martial 7/4 to dispatch.
Having made plenty of changes to the side that earned success over Italy, O’Neill faces plenty of tough decisions over his team selections for Sunday, as Ireland aim to enjoy further heroics (9/1 to win in 90 minutes) and avenge past hurt when clashing with hosts France with a quarter-final spot at stake.
What does Coral football ambassador Alan Shearer think ahead of France v Republic of Ireland? Here are his thoughts on this last 16 battle: