John O’Shea hopes the Republic of Ireland can lift their fans’ spirits by getting a result in their final Euro 2012 group match against Italy.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s men were hammered 4-0 by Spain on Thursday, and their previous 3-1 defeat to Croatia has left them eliminated after just two games.
However, a win over the Italians would allow them to finish third in Group C and restore some credibility to a squad with damaged morale.
“It is massively important,” O’Shea told reporters.
“We don’t want to leave this tournament with three defeats.
“We will be doing everything we can to get something from the game, not just for the fans but from our own point of view as well, the players and the staff.
“We have worked so hard for the last few years in the qualifying campaign.
“Especially for the fans – the numbers they have travelled in and the support they have given us, and especially for the tournament and for the group – we will definitely be doing all we can against Italy.”
Spain dominated possession and attack against the Irish, and a double from Fernando Torres and a goal apiece for David Silva and substitute Cesc Fabregas gave the European Championship holders a resounding victory.
And O’Shea admitted that it may have been the most difficult 90 minutes he has ever played.
“Possibly, yes. But you are aware beforehand how well they keep the ball, the number of passes they create in matches and the possession they create in matches,” the Sunderland man said.
“It is one of those. You think to yourself, ‘Could different systems work? Could different players work?’
“But you just hold your hands up and say ‘stop the mistakes at the start of the game and the start of the second half’, and then you have some sort of chance, no matter what players or what system you are playing.”
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