An emotional Martin O'Neill proclaimed it his proudest night as a coach after the Republic of Ireland dramatically sealed qualification while scorer Robbie Brady was still stunned by his late winner.
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Martin O'Neill, Republic of Ireland manager
I've never been prouder of a group of players. This was very special. We had enormous support from the stands and they kept us going and I think the fans and players fed off each other.
I got a bit emotional at the end. We won the game, we deserved to win and we played some phenomenal stuff. Obviously there's a great spirit among the players but spirit alone won't win games. You need some ability as well, and we have that, but some players have come of age at this tournament. We've had some late goals over the last two years and seriously, when you do it so often, it can't be a coincidence.
I remember when the draw was made – you cursed your luck for a while and then got on with it. Knowing we had to win a game at some stage, they came up really big tonight, really big. And obviously I'm delighted.
We had to have everyone at it tonight, to not drop tempo. The younger players came through tonight – you would have thought Duffy would have been playing his 35th international – but so did the whole team and every one of them was fantastic.
Good job Wes Hoolahan kept his head as he may have lost it in the dressing room if he hadn't made that cross [for the goal] after missing that chance! He did keep his head and he put in a lovely ball but Brady still had to go and head it and he's gone as bravely as anything to do that.
On playing France
It's a great game for us – we're playing the host nation. We want to play as strong as we did tonight and naturally we will need to. It will be a big test for us and one we're looking forward to immensely.
Robbie Brady, Republic of Ireland forward and Man of the Match
To have a look around and see what it means to everyone involved and me included ... I grew up waiting to play at this stage, dreaming about it since I was a little kid. To go and do it in front of my family is the best feeling in the world.
My body sort of carried my legs into the box and I just trusted where to put it. I managed to get my head on it and I'm lost for words really. I'm over the moon, emotional. It's unbelievable. I lost myself a little bit in the celebrations. I couldn't help it – it's what dreams are made of.
We know France are a top-class team but if we stick together and click like we did tonight we can hurt any team. We know some of their players in the Premier League; we know quite a bit about them but we'll need to do our work. But if we click on the night we'll be a handful for anyone.
Antonio Conte, Italy coach
I got a good response from the guys that haven't played as much and from the team as a whole. Tonight was a tough game against a physical side. There were a lot of second balls, challenges, balls thrown into the mixer. I have to congratulate them because they put a lot into the game. They went for it.
Congratulations to the Republic of Ireland because they really wanted to go through and they were rewarded for that. We played against a side that played the game of their lives. It was an intense match; I played myself and I know what it's like to play in games like this.
Regarding the draw, it's definitely odd to win the group and then come up against Spain, then the winner may play Germany and then the winner may play France. So it's a pretty problematic journey to the final but that's the way it is.
I don't think we deserved to lose tonight. I think a draw would have been a fairer outcome given the chances that we produced.