By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Italy took the first half lead from the head of Antonio Cassano but had to wait until late in the game to wrap up the points through Mario Balotelli.
The 2-0 win for Italy left the Irish without a point to their name from their three matches in Group C, but Prandelli feels his side were given a tough examination by Giovanni Trapattoni's boys.
"It has been a very difficult match, we came up against a team that made us suffer," said Prandelli.
"We knew that heart mattered more than quality. We created a lot. I hope it will be like this also in the next match."
Prandelli insisted he does not mind who they play in the knockout stages of the competition, with England one of their prospective opponents in Kiev on Sunday.
"No difference to us (who we play) we have already played Spain who are reigning world and European champions," he added. "If we play well we can take on anyone."
"I didn't set any targets to start with. I wanted to have a team that would improve game after game and a side that can play football.
"Sides that play football can always go quite far in tournaments. If it's just down to results, perhaps you can get there for a while, but in terms of European Championships, if you want to do well, you have to be a good football side."
Italy finished second in Group C and will face the winner of Group D in the next round.