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Cassano heads Italy Index domination

Italy filled nine of the top ten places in the Castrol EDGE Index for their encounter with the Republic of Ireland, Antonio Cassano finishing top of the pile thanks to his goalscoring display.

Antonio Cassano rises above Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews to glance in Italy's first goal
Antonio Cassano rises above Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews to glance in Italy's first goal ©Getty Images

Antonio Cassano led a clean sweep of the Castrol EDGE Index top eight for Italy, the AC Milan forward having scored the opener in the 2-0 win against the Republic of Ireland which confirmed the Azzurri as runners-up in Group C.

The 29-year-old's first international goal since recovering from the ischemic stroke he suffered in October was the primary reason why he topped the charts with a rating of 9.22, followed by the returning Andrea Barzagli (8.94) and Cassano's club-mate, Ignazio Abate (8.91).

Cassano had three efforts on goal, all of which hit the target, before he was replaced by Alessandro Diamanti after 63 minutes. With the second of those, moments after he had tested Shay Given, the Italy No10 broke the deadlock by glancing in an Andrea Pirlo corner.

Cassano had the second-best shot value in the match behind Antonio Di Natale (six on target), but accrued a higher Index mark than his strike partner by virtue of his superior distribution, his 100% success rate in the long passing department just one illustration why.

Barzagli, meanwhile, completed a wholly satisfactory 90 minutes on his return to the heart of Cesare Prandelli's back four following the calf injury which ruled him out of the 1-1 draws with Spain and Croatia. The Juventus man excelled particularly in the basics of defending, winning four tackles and making one clearance as Italy kept their first clean sheet in six matches.

Castrol EDGE Index: Italy v Republic of Ireland
1. Antonio Cassano (ITA) 9.22
2. Andrea Barzagli (ITA) 8.94
3. Ignazio Abate (ITA) 8.91
4. Antonio Di Natale (ITA) 8.71
5. Daniele De Rossi (ITA) 8.63

Key facts
– The Republic of Ireland are the second nation, after the Netherlands, to depart UEFA EURO 2012 without a point.

6 – Shots on target in this game by Antonio Di Natale.

9 – Goals conceded by Ireland in the group stage. Yugoslavia, with ten in 1984, are the only team to have shipped more.

10 – Antonio Cassano took his international goal tally into double figures with Italy's first of the night in Poznan.

60 – Per cent of possession enjoyed by the Azzurri.

Player view
Antonio Cassano: "Tough victories are the best ones. The most important thing was to get through the group stage. I couldn't wait for the final whistle in the other match [Croatia v Spain], but then the game finally ended. I'm very happy."

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