Martin O’Neill happy that Ireland had a go despite France’s ‘incredible advantage’

Ireland boss Martin O'Neill left Lyon intensely proud of his players after seeing them eventually wilt under the pressure of playing two enormous games inside five days.

Today’s loss came against a side which, by comparison, had enjoyed a week's break in the build up.

O’Neill said: "I was asked at the press conference yesterday about the difference that three days makes to one side, and we definitely got the short straw in that aspect.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill (bottom centre) consoles Irish captain John O'Shea after defeat in Lyon. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Ireland manager Martin O'Neill (bottom centre) consoles Irish captain John O'Shea after defeat in Lyon. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

"I know that we knew about it before, but it is an incredible amount of time one side could have as an advantage over another team."

However, O'Neill was left wondering what might have been after seeing his players hand the hosts a genuine shock.

Asked if Ireland had reached their level by making the last 16, he said: "We were playing a very fine side in France, who are possibly the tournament favourites, today and we really had a go - not only a go, we had them under severe pressure in the game.

"We took the lead and at half-time we are not only well in the game but actually feeling that we could win the match, so no, I don't think so.

"When I analyse both qualification and the group that we were put into, then I think the team has done fantastically well, hence my disappointment at not going through today."

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