Portugal’s  Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates were welcomed home to Lisbon by thousands of supporters following their Euro 2016 final win over France. Photograph: Patricial De Melo/AFP/Getty

Financial realities inevitably trump the decline of quality in the football itself

Portugal were crowned kings of Europe after beating France 1-0 after extra time at the Stade de France. Photograph: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

Valiant Portugese defy Ronaldo injury to stun hosts France and win Euro 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe warm up ahead of Portugal’s training session at Centre National de Rugby in Marcoussis ahead of Sunday’s European Championship final against France in Paris. Photograph:  Regis Devignau/Reuters/Livepic

Defender takes full part in training after missing Wales game with thigh strain

France’s captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris ducks down as he leaves a helicopter before  a press conference at the Stade de France ahead of the European Championship final against Portugal on Sunday night. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Hugo Lloris believes victory in Paris would complete rehabilitation with French public

Scorer of both goals against Germany in the semi-final, Antoine Griezmann (number seven), celebrates with his France team-mates in Marseilles. Photograph: Getty.

Ronaldo key to unlocking hosts’ defence in what should be a tight affair in Paris

French striker was hailed by fans for his super strike and outstanding performance

France midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates after the victory over   Germany in the Euro 2016 semi-final  at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

French midfielder’s proposed big-money transfer is really a statement of intent

The fan zone in Paris early in the evening before Antoine Griezmann’s two goals saw France through to Sunday’s European Championship final. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

‘In 1998 people were freer in their minds but now nobody knows for sure that a bomb won’t go off’

Antoine Griezmann celebrates after he scored the fourth goal for France during the Euro 2016 quarter-final against Iceland. Photo: Getty Images

Two historic rivals meet in Marseille for the chance to take on Portugal in the final

Portugal celebrate Nani’s goal in their 2-0 win over Wales in Lyon. Photograph: AP

Quickfire goals from Portuguese captain and Nani bring Welsh fairytale to abrupt finish

Face-off: Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo meet each other as Wales take on Portugal in the first Euro 2016 semi-final in Paris. Photographs: Patricia De Melo Moreira/Emmanuel Dunand/AFP Photo/Getty Images

Wales-Portugal semi-final at Euro 2016 should be about more than the superstars

Irish supporters: the best fans at Euro 2016 may have had the worst “fans embassies”. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Football Supporters Europe replaced Irish association with YBIG after breach of rules

Portugal’s Renato Sanches keeps Poland’s Robert Lewandowski at arm’s length during their quarter-final tie at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Former Auxerre coach Guy Roux has questioned whether midfielder is really 18

Gareth Bale at a press conference ahead of the semi-final clash between Wales and Portugal. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Real Madrid star says it is not about himself and Cristiano Ronaldo but about both sides

Wales’ players celebrate at the end of their Euro 2016 quarter-final defeat of Belgium at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium in Lille on Friday. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty.

Financial windfall of European Championship also set to be big benefit to Iceland

France’s Olivier Giroud scores the fifth goal against Iceland in their Euro 2016 quarter-final clash. Photo: Charles Platiau /Reuters

The hosts burst out of the blocks to put any Icelandic resistance to bed early on in Paris

Iceland players during training ahead of their Euro 2016 quarter-final clash with France. Photo: Robert Pratta/Reuters

“To do the simple things well is genius,” said Lars Lagerback ahead of clash with France

Germany’s Joshua Kimmich battles with Slovakia midfielder Marek Hamsik in the side’s last-16 clash, which the world champions won 3-0. Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Bayern Munich players have had very different experiences at the tournament so far

Blaise Matuidi: The French international is the son of an Angolan migrant and  was raised in the Parisian suburb of Fontenay-sous-Bois.  Photograph: Robert Prata/Livepic

Europe’s social problems are seen in microcosm around its busiest train station

Wales celebrate Sam Vokes’ goal in their famous 3-1 win over Belgium in Lille. Photograph: Reuters

Chris Coleman’s side make history as they dispatch sorry Belgium to reach semi-finals

Poland’s Jakub Blaszczykowski celebrates opening the scoring against Switzerland in the last 16 of the competition.Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images

Winger has regained form that made him such a key man for Klopp’s Dortmund

 Aron Gunnarsson celebrates after Iceland knock England out of the tournament. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

The decision to increase the number of participants to 24 nations has simply not worked

Roy Hodgson has said he did not see his side’s infamous defeat to Iceland coming. Photograph: Reuters

The task of finding a new England manager will be far from straightforward

 Robbie Brady poses for a picture with Dylan Stears from Rathcoole at Dublin Airport when the Republic of Ireland team arrived home from France. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Younger players established as key players in squad, says O’Neill

Republic of Ireland Manager Martin O'Neill

The Ireland squad will look very different when it’s World Cup qualifying time

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill at a press conference in Versailles after his team were knocked out of Euro 2016 by France. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The manager confirmed that he will sign a two-year contract extension with Ireland

Robbie Brady: “We didn’t have that time to rest up. But you can’t blame anything. If you switch off for a second in these games, the quality of the French team, they can go and hurt us. We’re very disappointed but we’ll go on.” Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Pain will linger for Irish goal scorer but Brady already looking forward to World Cup campaign

 Robbie Brady celebrates with Republic of Ireland team-mate Stephen Ward  after scoring from the penalty spot in the    European Championship Round Of 16 match at  Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Robbie Brady had given Martin O’Neill’s side a dream start with second-minute penalty

Séamus Coleman and James McClean challenge for the ball during a Republic of Ireland squad training session at Stade de Montbauron in Versaille. Photograph:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

Manager faces critical question of whether veterans should be recalled

Former Ireland boss  Giovanni Trapattoni with his assistant Marco Tardelli. Photograph: Getty

Former assistant boss: ‘I have fond memories of Ireland, they were fantastic years’

Jonathan Walters stretches ahead of the Republic of Ireland squad training session at  Parc Olympique Lyonnais in  Lyon on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s meeting with France in the Euro 2016 Round of 16. Photograph:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill had positive news ahead of France after training in Lyon

France  coach Didier Deschamps arrives at the team’s hotel in Lyon ahead of the match against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday afternoon. Photograph:  Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Extra days off between end of group has allowed host nation’s players to rest up

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during Friday’s press conference in Versailles. Photograph:Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Republic of Ireland assistant manager a believer in putting them under pressure

Ireland’s Shane Long during a press conference ahead of the Euro 2016 second round clash with France. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

“It’s forgotten about now. We were obviously devastated at the time because it cost us a place in the World Cup finals but we are (...)

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during a press conference ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2016 second round clash with France. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

“Now there is a big challenge for teams like us as we come up against very good sides”

Thierry Henry’s handball that led to France’s goal against the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup playoff in 2009.

French media begin to focus on Irish team’s efforts to get revenge for 2009

Shane Duffy and James McClean celebrates Ireland’s victory over Italy on Wednesday night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Fitness concerns still loom over Jon Walters and Stephen Ward ahead of France game

Ireland coach Martin O’Neill holds a press conference at the Montbauron stadium in Versailles the morning after Ireland’s 1-0 win over Italy at Euro 2016. Photo: Miguel Medina/Getty Images

The Ireland squad enjoyed a day off with families after memorable win over Italy

Ireland’s Seamus Coleman celebrates at the final whistle in Lille. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Seamus Coleman: ‘it’s not done yet, we’ve full belief we can go further in this tournament’

Robbie Brady celebrates with his family after Ireland’s 1-0 win over Italy. Photograph: Inpho/Donall Farmer

Robbie Brady’s winning header against Italy joins Ray Houghton’s strike in Irish legend

Robbie Brady celebrates with Ireland supporters after his goal secured a famous 1-0 win over Italy in Lille. Photograph: Reuters

Matchwinner: ‘I’m lost for words really, I’m over the moon, emotional. It’s unbelievable’

Robbie Brady scores the winning goal. Photo: EPA

Late winner sets up another day of destiny with France in the round of 16 on Sunday

Italy coach Antonio Conte has said Ireland can expect no favours from the Azzurri in Lille on Wednesday night. Photograph: Epa

The Italian manager believes Ireland face the biggest game of their career tonight

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill gathers his thoughts during the stadium walk in Lille. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland manager expected to make at least four changes for do-or-die clash with Italy

A view of Stade Pierre-Mauroy as the pitch is treated on Tuesday. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

New pitch will be laid in Lille for knockout games

Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane: “As long as we work hard, don’t give the ball away as cheaply, cut out the individual mistakes and get a few decisions, then we’ve got a chance.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inphho

Assistant manager calls on players to deliver performance of their lives against Italy

Former Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli has fond memories of working with John O’Shea. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

‘They don’t get that football is also an intellectual matter, and not just about attacking and going forward’

 Ciaran Clark and Robbie Brady show their dejection after Belgium score during the Group E match in Bordeaux. Photograph:  Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Midfielder Robbie Brady describes Ireland’s defending for the goals as ‘naive’

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane plays a prank on goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

‘You might even get a red, but your team might win. You have to make sacrifices’

Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld risks conceding a penalty as his high boot connects with Shane Long’s head. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Martin O’Neill’s men must now raise themselves for do-or-die clash against Italy

Romelu Lukaku: “I think it was very important for us to win today - to deliver a good performance after the game against Italy, which was a setback.”

‘Now we are awake and have to become even better after the performance of today’

Shane Long had a strong penalty claim turned down moments before Belgium scored the opener in their 3-0 win over Ireland. Photograph: Inpho

Striker cut an isolated figure against Belgium but is confident Ireland can beat Italy

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku scores the first of his two goals in the Euro 2016   Group E match at Stade Matmut Atlantique  in Bordeaux. Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku grabs two goals as Martin O’Neill’s side well beaten in Bordeaux

Republic of Ireland’s Stephen Ward during a training session at the Stade de Bordeaux on Friday. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

Burnley full back comes into Ireland defence with Robbie Brady moving to left wing

 Radja Nainggolan was probably Belgium’s most effective player over the course of the qualifying campaign.

Midfielder had tough upbringing and faces Ireland with a point to prove

Republic of Ireland’s  coach Martin O’Neill: “We have to be mentally tuned in. There are other sides at this tournament who possibly have a lot of talent at their disposal and can maybe afford to be not quite so tuned in; we can’t.” Photo: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Rumours of Belgian discord will bolster Irish belief ahead of crucial clash

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill: “Belgium will be up for the game. They have lost that game against Italy but they’ll be raring to go again and so are we.”

Ireland manager paying little heed to rumours of discontent in the Belgian camp

Sweden striker  Zlatan Ibrahimovic during a training session   in Toulouse ahead of Friday’s meeting with Italy. Photograph:   Vassil Donev/EPA

Group E: Italy v Sweden, Toulouse, Friday 2pm

Republic of Ireland assiatant manager Roy Keane during a press conference at Stade de Montbauron, Versailles, on Thursday Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Ireland assistant manager quietly confident of success if team can play to abilities

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane at the team’s training base in Marseille. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The Ireland assistant manager sat down with reporters at the team base in Versailles

Alan Mathews has resigned as manager of Athlone Town. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Several first-team players expected to follow as situation becomes ‘untenable’

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane at a press conference in Versailles. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The Ireland assistant also confirmed that Wes Hoolahan should be fine for Saturday

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill: “James has never let us down,” he said. “James has done great for us. James at this minute, the way he trains for us, he is probably unlucky not to be in the starting line-up. So he would certainly come into our consideration but there would be a few others too.”

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill remains in positive mood about Belgium

Robbie Brady may be deployed on the left side of midfield in Saturday’s game against Belgium in Bordeaux. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Dubliner making most of underdog role as Ireland reach for stars against Belgium

Romania and Switzerland played out a 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes, with the Swiss missing out on the chance to seal progression to the last 16 of Euro 2016. Photograph: Reuters

Vladimir Petkovic’s side have one foot in the last 16 after Admir Mehmedi’s equaliser

Jonathan Walters is unlikely to feature against Belgium on Saturday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

‘If he doesn’t make this game then I’d be hoping he’ll maybe be fit for final game,’ O’Neill says

Jeff Hendrick has a shot saved during the Group E Euro 2016 match against Sweden at Stade de France. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters.

Martin O’Neill says Jon Walters is ‘pretty doubtful’ for game against Belgium

Republic of Ireland forward  Jonathan Walters closes down  Swedish defender Victor Nilsson-Lindelof during the Euro 2016 game at Stade de France. Photograph:  Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Forward admits he he played through pain barrier against Sweden in Paris

Republic of Ireland’s Wes Hoolahan opens the scoring in the Euro 2016 Group E match against Sweden at Stade de France in Paris. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters/Livepic

Wes Hoolahan’s wonder strike is cancelled out by Ciaran Clark own goal

Wes Hoolahan will start for the Republic of Ireland in the Group E opener against Sweden at Stade de France. Photograph:   Donall Farmer/Inpho

Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and Wes Hoolahan all starting at Stade de France

Shane Long: his pace could prove an asset for the Republic of Ireland against Sweden at the  Stade de France in Paris. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Sweden game represents the best opportunity to claim what would be a key victory

Sweden Coach Erik Hamren addresses the press in Paris. Photograph: Getty Images

With both set to leave the stage, this may be their last chance to shine

Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane expects Jon Walters for Monday’s Euro 2016 opener against Sweden. Photograph: Inpho

‘Working with the Irish senior team is a pretty good job; in fact it’s a brilliant job’

Alan Dunne of Millwall (right) puts the foot in against Leicester City in 2013. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

In the build-up to Euro 2016, a decent crop of soccer books has appeared in the shops

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has shown a willingness to change the tactical formation of his side. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Trusting players available to do best job possible gives Ireland manager options

France’s Dimitri Payet scores their winner. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters

Stunning late winner from West Ham star gets hosts off to perfect start

The FAI  has  agreed a deal to refinance its debt on the Aviva Stadium with Bank of Ireland.

Denis O’Brien will also continue to help fund Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane’s salaries

Martin O’Neill looks on as  Jonathan Walters works on his own during the Republic of Ireland open training session at  Stade de Montbauron, Versailles. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Martin O’Neill says he will give Stoke striker every chance to prove he is ready for opener

France’s head coach Didier Deschamps looks on during a squad training session at the Stade de France on Thursday. Photograph: Getty Images.

Mood of tournament would greatly benefit from a strong showing by home side

Martin O’Neill watches on during Ireland’s open training session in Versailles. Photograph: Inpho/Donall Farmer

Ireland boss confident in his squad should Jon Walters not make Sweden Euros opener

The Republic of Ireland squad and management team board the flight to Paris from Dublin on Wednesday. Photograph: David Maher/Sportsfile

Ireland squad to hold an open training session at Versailles on Thursday morning

Ireland supporters are holding a charity match in France to raises thousands for Irish and French good causes, including a fund set up by friends of Irish Times journalist Carl O’Malley.

YBIG group to play charity game in La Rochelle the day before Ireland face Belgium

Republic of Ireland’s Robbie Brady:  “I want to perform well first of all and if I can help the team with delivering a good ball that will be perfect.” Photograph: PA

Norwich City stalwart on verge of full fitness and perpared for key role in championships

Ireland will retain the management team of Martin O’Neill, Roy Keane and the backroom staff for the next two years. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Two-year deals secured on eve of an upbeat Ireland squad’s departure for Euro 2016

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill with assistant coach Roy Keane  and coach Steve Walford during a training session at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Rest of management team also agree deals with FAI on eve of departure to France

Republic of Ireland soccer international Cyrus Christie in squad for Euro 2016 finals: “I’m not here just to make up the numbers. I want to play. And I want to be putting thoughts in the manager’s mind.” Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ireland defender aware of task in displacing Coleman in right back pecking order

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said that criticism he received had been justified. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland manager hits back at journalist for suggesting he comes across as smug

Today FM presenter Matt Cooper with Roy Keane and   Martin O’Neill: the Republic of Ireland manager joked that he did not want people to think he and Keane were ‘queers’

James McClean agrees with Roy Keane’s harsh assessment after Belarus game

The Republic of Ireland team sun bathe during Italia ‘90. Photograph: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The national team will spend almost all of Euro 2016 behind a tight security cordon

Shane Long has thrived since winning a regular first-team place at Southampton. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Southampton striker believes he is reaching his full potential for club and country

An injured Robbie Keane and physio Tony McCarthy go for a cycle on the Republic of Ireland squad base on Fota Island, Cork. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland midfielder relieved to get ‘a sweat on’ after struggling with groin and hamstring

Cork City’s Stephen Dooley celebrates his goal in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Dundalk at  Turner’s Cross. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Champions lose first league game on the road since September 2014

Friday night’s Airtricity League first division match between Waterford United and Athlone Town at the RSC has been cancelled due to Athlone’s inability to field a team. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

FAI set to sanction First Division club after Friday night’s game in Waterford is called off

Darren Randolph in action during training in Fota Island, Co Cork: “I deal with things how I deal with things and what might work for me might not work for someone else.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The goalkeeper has come a long way and is now ready to make his mark for Ireland

Robbie Keane   tries his hand at hurling during Republic of Ireland squad training at Fota Island resort: Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho Farmer

Striker believes he will be ready for two if not all three of the Republic of Ireland’s games

Keiren Westwood at a Republic of Ireland press conference on Fota Island: “The only reason I wouldn’t be in the squad is because I was injured.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Recent form of Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper has him on the plane to Euro 2016

Republic of Ireland soccer team assistant manager Roy Keane:   “telling good lads they’ve  not made it – obviously the manager spoke to them – was very difficult.” Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Assistant manager resists temptation to kill, but wants to see more from squad survivors

 Republic of Ireland’s Keiren Westwood applauds the fans during the lap of honour after tonight’s  match at Turner’s Cross. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

David Forde, Eunan O’Kane, Darron Gibson, Harry Arter, McGoldrick, Kevin Doyle miss out

 Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill watches the action. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Defeat to Belarus gives Republic of Ireland manger plenty to ponder at Turner’s Cross

Bournemouth’s Harry Arter has left the Ireland squad at Fota Island and looks set to miss out on a place at Euro 2016. Photo: Inpho

The Bournemouth midfielder now looks set to miss out on a place at Euro 2016

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