clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Sunderland At The Euros: Round #4

Sunderland now have just one representative left at the European Championships. That said, how well did John O'Shea and Emanuele Giaccherini perform in their respective last sixteen knockout games?

Lars Baron/Getty Images
John O'Shea - v France (Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon) - 6

By the time that John O'Shea entered the fray in the sixty-sixth minute of the game against France in Lyon, the damage to the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 campaign had already been done.

Having led in the tie for almost an hour, Martin O'Neill's Ireland produced a Sunderland-esque capitulation, conceding two Antoine Griezmann goals in quick succession before Shane Duffy was given a straight red card for a foul from behind on the Atletico Madrid forward, who was almost certain to complete his hattrick before being brought down from behind by the former Everton centre half.

With the Irish down to ten men, O'Shea was brought on in place of his former Sunderland teammate James McClean in a bid to shore up their back line as they seeked out a late equaliser, but it wasn't to be and with their tails between their legs the green army now head home.

O'Shea's immediate task when coming on was to re-organise a back line that had been completely torn apart by Griezmann, and to his credit he did just that. Ireland, despite being down to ten men, looked fairly resolute for the remainder of the half and I suppose that is what you expect when you introduce a player with the experience that the Sunderland captain has.

Now with the European Championships behind him, O'Shea has an uncertain future ahead of him. Now aged thirty-five, is it time that he called it a day on his international career? Though he's likely to play on professionally for at least another year, O'Shea has to ask himself whether at this stage he needs to consider whether or not it's worth him continuing to play on for his country, or whether the time is now for Martin O'Neill to usher in a new era of Irish talent.

Similarly, now that O'Shea's season is officially over he has to consider his Sunderland future. Sam Allardyce will be keen to hang on to him, but more than likely he'll have a reduced role, and O'Shea must ask himself whether or not a move away for more regular football is something that he'd prefer.

Emanuele Giaccherini - v Spain (Stade De France, Paris) - 8

It was yet another brilliant display from Emanuele Giaccherini for Italy, as Antonio Conte's side disposed of current holders Spain with ease in a game that could have gone far worse for the Spaniards had it not been for the contributions of David De Gea.

Italy produced by far the greatest display of this year's tournament so far, and their work-rate combined with organisation ensured that Spain just did not know how to live with them. It was impressive.

At the hub of it all was Giaccherini, who worked tirelessly throughout the game. He ran THIRTEEN kilometres, more than any other player on the pitch, and played his part both offensively and defensively, particularly with the first Italy goal.

After Eder fired a free kick at David De Gea, the Spain 'keeper fumbled the ball and it was Giaccherini who was closest, providing the distraction which allowed Giorgio Chiellini to put Italy in front. Had Chiellini not scored, Italy would have almost certainly got a penalty and De Gea would have been sent off, as the Manchester United brought down Giaccherini clumsily in the scramble which led to the goal.

Little Giacchy almost scored with an overhead kick, but rather harshly a foul was given for a high foot. And, just before half time, he cut inside from the left and smashed a shot at De Gea but it was turned over and out for a corner.

Italy rounded off proceedings when Graziano Pelle scored right at the end of the game but it could have been far worse if it wasn't for De Gea, who made countless saves in the first half to keep the score down. If anything, 2-0 flattered Spain.

Giaccherini is now Sunderland's sole representative left in the competition, with Italy set to face World Champions Germany on Saturday night for a place in the semi-finals against the winners of the France v Iceland tie.