Conte: Draw would have been fair

Italy coach Antonio Conte complimented Ireland after their 1 – 0 victory over the Azzurri, but also says that he felt his opponents didn't deserve the result.

Robbie Brady's 85 minute header handed the Irish a hard-fought win and propelled them into the first knockout round by virtue of their performances matched against other groups' third placed sides.

Conte, who opted to field a weakened Italy team knowing that a loss would not affect his side's position on the Group E log, spoke to reporters at a prost match press conference about the match.

"I got some good responses from those who haven’t played as much,” the manager said, referring to the squad players who were handed a start.

“It was a tough game," he continued. "Very physical, against a side that played with a lot of long balls to create chaos in the box. It’s their typical style of football and the pitch made it easier for them, but we must give credit for their determination and ardour.

“Those who played gave their all, responded blow for blow, so honour to Ireland for the qualification they so strongly desired and they got perhaps more than deserved.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose, as a draw would’ve been more fair considering the chances created. We had the opportunity to make changes and rest a few players who used up a great deal of energy.

Despite the result, Italy remained at the top of the group, and will now face Spain in their first knockout round fixture.