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Emotional McClean savours 'unbelievable' win

23 June 2016

Baggies wide-man dreams of France repeat

JAMES McClean says last night’s 1-0 win over Italy in Lille will live with him for the rest of his life.

The 27-year-old midfielder completed his first full game of EURO 2016 as the Republic of Ireland beat the four-time World Cup winners to seal a place in the knockout stages.

Ireland will now prepare to tackle hosts France in Lyon on Sunday in the knowledge that anything is possible.

And McClean, who played one of his best games for Martin O’Neill’s side according to the Irish Times, was clearly emotional when he spoke on television after the win. 

"I don't have any words," McClean told RTÉ Sport at the final whistle. 

"Unbelievable. We did it the hard way, but it's always worth it. 

“We just thought, 'we'll leave it until the last few minutes and then we'll score as we always do and build up the atmosphere here!

"No, all joking aside we knew it was win or bust. We went out from the first whistle and we gave it everything. Hopefully that showed.

"The passion and our love for this country, for those fans, for ourselves and for our families, I think we left nothing on that field. In terms of football, it was the best night ever.

"Fair enough it wasn't the first-choice Italian side, but all those boys play in top top sides and they're still a very good outfit," he added.

McClean thought he had won Ireland a first-half penalty when he appeared to be dragged to the floor inside the area.

"I don't know what it's going to take for us to get a penalty in this tournament,” he added.

"We should have had one against Belgium. It was GBH on me tonight, I might put a complaint into the police!

"But who cares, we're through. Robbie Brady will never have to buy another pint for the rest of his life. We'll savour this now. It's a feeling that I'll never ever forget. Hopefully we've another night like this to come."

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