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Martin O'Neill salutes 'excellent' Irish display against Italy

Updated: Sunday, 01 Jun 2014 11:29 | Comments

Martin O'Neill was happy with the way Ireland acquitted themselves against Italy and expects a decision on Roy Keane's future before they fly out to the States
Martin O'Neill was happy with the way Ireland acquitted themselves against Italy and expects a decision on Roy Keane's future before they fly out to the States

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Republic of Ireland coach Martin O'Neill applauded his players following their impressive performance when holding Italy to a scoreless draw at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

"We played very well indeed," O'Neill said.

"Italy started well and had two chances in the opening 10 minutes but after that, we settled down.

"I thought we were excellent. We could have scored a few goals.

"I'm very pleased with the way we played against Italy.

"I thought the game was very competitive from start to finish, just what both teams wanted." 

When asked about the Roy Keane situation and the possibility of the Corkman heading to Celtic Park. O'Neill added: "I’m pretty easy about it. It isn’t a case of what I want.

“I think it will be resolved by Wednesday. (The day that Ireland depart to the USA for the games against Costa Rica and Portugal)

“No. It isn’t a deadline. I just assume. My assumption being that Celtic amongst other clubs are looking at the candidates. They’ve got games coming up pretty quickly. I’m sure they’ll want to make a decision quickly. I may be wrong on the times scale I just assume that will be the case.” 

“Again I reiterate that we’d all be very disappointed. My own view he has settled in very well. The players, as I expected, have really taken to him. He has been terrific around the squad. It would be a disappointment if it materialises.” 

The main talking point, however, from the friendly encounter in west London is that Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo will miss the World Cup with a broken leg.

The AC Milan captain was carried off the pitch on a stretcher early in the first half following a challenge with Alex Pearce and was taken to a nearby hospital to have an X-ray.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed Montolivo has a fractured tibia and will be taken to Milan in an air ambulance on Sunday ahead of surgery.

"All our thoughts are with Riccardo right now," coach Cesare Prandelli said. "I haven't spoken to him yet.

"Montolivo is an important player for us. He has become in the past few years a reference player not only on the pitch but off it. Obviously, his team-mates are shocked."

Montolivo's absence will no doubt hurt Italy in Brazil, but it immediately took its toll at Craven Cottage as they struggled to create a decent chance after his departure.

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