Euro 2016 – Revenge on Irish minds as they take on France

Coming into the final round of group matches, it looked an extremely tough ask for the Republic of Ireland to beat Italy and qualify for the knockout stages of Euro 2016, particularly on the evidence of their previous outing against Belgium. However, a terrific display and a late headed goal from Robbie Brady saw them do just that, securing a berth as one of the four best third-placed teams. It sets up a rather enticing encounter with hosts France, which immediately evokes memories of the two-legged play-off these sides contested…

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Euro 2016 Group F – Frustrated Portugal face crucial Hungary clash

Of the 24 teams taking part at Euro 2016, Portugal must be the most frustrated of all. Countless attempts at goal, and overwhelming dominance in terms of possession and territory has only yielded two points from as many matches. They are now faced with the prospect of having to win against Hungary in order to make sure of qualification for the last 16. Saturday evening was a rare one to forget for Cristiano Ronaldo, who struck the post with a second half penalty and shortly afterwards saw a goal ruled…

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Euro 2016 Group F – Knockout stages a real prospect for Hungary

The first round of group matches were all well fought, but largely devoid of surprise results. Arguably the biggest exception was Hungary’s fine 2-0 win over a much fancied Austria side, who badly failed to live up to the pre-tournament hype. Not much was expected of a side that had not competed at a major finals for many years, and needed the play-offs to qualify from what on paper, was one of the weakest groups. However, they produced a very tidy performance to not only outplay their opponents, but limit…

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Euro 2016 Group F – Dark horses Austria look to lay down a marker

It is a long time since Austria last qualified for a major tournament, but all of a sudden the class of 2016 is showing signs that they might be capable of doing something special, having breezed through a qualifying group containing tricky opponents in the shape of Russia, Sweden and Montenegro. Just three points were dropped during the entire campaign, as a talented group of players announced themselves as potential dark horses. Their stars include the brilliant David Alaba, who is used to success at club level as part of…

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Northern Ireland vs Hungary – Match preview and team news

Having won five out of seven games in what has been a magnificent qualifying campaign, Northern Ireland will qualify for Euro 2016 with just one more three point haul against Hungary on Monday. A first major tournament appearance in three decades will come as massively unexpected, as manager Michael O’Neill could hardly buy a win before their Group F schedule got underway in Budapest a year ago. But a 2-1 victory in that fixture really kick-started a surge of momentum which has carried them to the top ahead of Romania,…

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