ROBBIE KEANE COULDN’T hide his disappointment as Ireland’s Euro 2012 adventure came to an early close, conceding that the Boys in Green struggled to cope with three top-quality opponents.
Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli ensured that Ireland left for home without a single point as their goals gave Italy a 2-0 win and sent the Azzurri through the quarter-finals alongside Spain.
Spain’s 1-0 win against Croatia sent the team ranked eighth in the world packing alongside Ireland and Keane admitted afterwards that they had simply been beaten by better sides.
“I think we played well tonight but without really creating too many chances either,” the striker told RTÉ Televsion afterwards. “It’s one of those things, we’re obviously disappointed that we didn’t get something out of the group.”
I’m sure all of the players are disappointed but we’ve been beaten by better teams I think.
Keane again led the tributes to the travelling Irish support who massively outnumbered their Italian counterparts in Poznan’s Municipal Stadium.
At the final whistle, the Italian players celebrated their place in the quarter-finals against the backdrop of another rousing rendition of “The Fields of Athenry”, and Keane admitted that they deserved better than the team had shown over the last eight days.
The last three games, they’ve been fantastic. It’s just a shame that the team didn’t perform as well as we know that we can and we didn’t get a result for them because if anyone deserves it, it’s them.
But the 31-year-old was non-committal when asked about whether he and some of the squad’s other veterans intend to continue in at international level: ”I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”