PURE JOY: James McClean, Robbie Brady (centre) and Stephen Ward of Ireland celebrate after winning the Euro 2016 group E preliminary round match against Italy.
PURE JOY: James McClean, Robbie Brady (centre) and Stephen Ward of Ireland celebrate after winning the Euro 2016 group E preliminary round match against Italy. LAURENT DUBRULE

Late goal puts Irish through at Euros

FOOTBALL: A British team is guaranteed a spot in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 after the line-up for the last 16 was finalised on a dramatic day in France.

Wales and Northern Ireland, both at their first European Championships, will go head to head in Paris on Saturday night (AEST).

England, meanwhile, will face Iceland in Nice next Tuesday morning after the Scandinavian side defeated Austria 2-1 with the last kick of the game.

Had Iceland drawn, the English would have been drawn to play Portugal, which scraped through to the knockout stages with a 3-3 draw against Hungary.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as the Portuguese came from being a goal down three times to deny Hungary, which went through as group winners, a famous win.

The Republic of Ireland also left it late, but will take on host nation France on Sunday night after defeating Italy, which had already qualified, 1-0.

Martin O’Neill’s team went through as one of four-best third-placed teams after Robbie Brady (pictured) scored with a header with five minutes remaining.

Goalscorer Brady was “absolutely flabbergasted” and said after scoring and winning the game he had an “out-of-body experience”.

Winger James McClean added: “We knew it would be win or bust. We left nothing on the field. The best night of my life, hands down.”

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s international career is over after Sweden failed to qualify for the knockout stages with a 1-0 defeat to Belgium.

Last 16 fixtures: Switzerland v Poland, Wales v Northern Ireland, Croatia v Portugal, France v Republic of Ireland, Germany v Slovakia, Hungary v Belgium, Italy v Spain, England v Iceland


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