By ESPNSTAR.com staff
It was a relatively even match in the first half with both sides enjoying equal possession of the ball until the Irish were undone by a set piece goal.
Antonio Cassano gave the Italians the lead after a pin point Andrea Pirlo corner and they never looked like they were going to lose it.
Mario Balotelli made sure of the points in the 90th minute with an overhead kick.
Gianluigi Buffon - 6
A couple of routine saves and punches for the veteran who was never bothered by the toothless Irish strikeforce.
Giorgio Chiellini (56' off) - 6
He had an easy time as he was barely bothered by Doyle and Keane in the match. However, his awkward fall could mean he would have to sit out the rest of the Euros.
Andrea Barzagli - 6.5
The Juventus defender looked sharp after returning from injury and he would have to return to his best very soon for his side in the knockout stages.
Federico Balzaretti - 7
The 30 year old looked dangerous overlapping down the left for Italy and was one of their best weapons going forward. Things are looking good for the Italians in the left back department after the departure of Giainluca Zambrotta but for how long more can Balzaretti hold the fort?
Ignazio Abate - 6
Italy's narrow passing down the middle did not require him to bomb forward like other full backs would, but he did a good job in keeping his defence water tight nonetheless.
Andrea Pirlo - 7
His set piece deliveries were consistently good throughout the match and single handedly made things happen for his team from a very deep postition. It was a joy to watch him play as his passes were so accurate throughout the 90 minutes.
Thiago Motta - 6.5
Had a quiet first half and was guilty of clustering with his fellow team mates in the middle of the park too often after the restart. Lacked creativity in the final third of the pitch.
Daniele De Rossi - 7
Playing in a more familiar midfield position instead of a make shift defender in the first two matches, De Rossi's aggression in the middle and his crisp passing was the reason why the Italians could enjoy plenty of possession.
Claudio Marchisio - 6
One of the few Italian players who was willing to wait for the ball at the wider areas of the pitch but he was under utilised.
Antonio Di Natale (74' off) - 7
The Udinese striker worked hard at closing down defenders. However, his efforts on goal went to waste due to the good work of opposition player Richard Dunne.
Antonio Cassano (63' off) - 7
The Italians just proved that it is possible playing with two short strikers instead of their traditional target man upfront. Vincenzo Iaquinta and Luca Toni would have been proud of his goal.
Leonardo Bonucci (56' on) - 6
Came on for the injured Chiellini and managed to fit into the Italian back four seamlessly.
Alessandro Diamanti (63' on) - 6
His contribution to the game was the assist for Balotelli's goal.
Mario Balotelli (74' on) - 7
Never fails to steal the headlines but credit to Balotelli who came on and did what his team mates failed to do in the second half, finding space and making runs in the opposition half of the pitch. Kudos to him also for scoring what is probably the goal of the tournament - an overhead kick which left Shay Given with no chance.
Shay Given - 6
He is no longer the goalkeeper that he used to be and is getting very prone to mistakes. In his prime, he would have kept out Cassano's header for sure.
Sean St. Ledger - 7
The ball hit his chest when the Italians were appealing for a penalty, but the Leicester man had a great game in defence, and would have been proud of his contribution at this Euros being the only player to score for his country.
Richard Dunne - 7.5
Blocked a million and one shots and was Ireland's best defender of the night. He won almost all the headers in the Italian penalty box but unlike Olof Mellberg for Sweden could not find the back of the net when he went up to attack.
Stephen Ward - 6.5
Was dragged out of position by Di Natale and Cassano on a few occasions and his game only picked up after the departure of Cassano.
John O'Shea - 3
Struggled at the back with Balzaretti in particular and made a load of rash challenges. Should have been tighter on Balotelli for Italy's second goal.
Keith Andrews (89' sent off) - 6
Tested Buffon from distance all game and almost managed to beat him in the last few minutes of the match with a well worked free-kick. Was easily Ireland's more threatening player but got himself sent off for dissent.
Glenn Whelan - 5
His ball distribution was poor and was always second best to De Rossi. The hard tackling no nonsense midfielder who played for Stoke just a few weeks ago must have gone on holiday.
Aiden McGeady (65' off) - 6
Was not afraid of the Italians, running at them with plenty of tricks and flair. His final pass into the area for Keane and Doyle was pretty poor throughout the match though.
Damien Duff - 5.5
Caught dreaming at the posts for Italy's first goal - only managing to clear it after the ball had crossed the line.
Robbie Keane (86' off) - 5.5
Their star striker has yet to find his scoring boots in this competition which will have a negative impact on his confidence as he heads back to the US for LA Galaxy.
Kevin Doyle (76' off) - 6
Very used to being a dark horse and although his side has nothing to play for, he was very professional and haunted Pirlo, refusing him time and space on the ball.
Shane Long (65' on) - 6
The forward was a spark in Ireland's revival for a good 15 minutes but slowly fizzed off. Balotelli's goal eventually was a nail in the Irish coffin.
Jonathan Walters (76' on) - 6.5
It was evident his physical presence had an immediate impact on the game, and should have be brought on after Chiellini was taken off to catch the Italians off guard.
Simon Cox (86' on)