Sunderland duo to feature in Euro 2016 knockout stages

Emanuele Giaccherini and John O'Shea will be playing in the last-16 but Seb Larsson and his Sweden side are heading home.

Sunderland duo to feature in Euro 2016 knockout stages
Photo source: Irish Times

Sunderland still have two squad members aiming for Euro 2016 glory as the round of 16 approaches this weekend. 

Italy's Emanuele Giaccherini and John O'Shea of Ireland both managed to escape to from a tricky group and book their places in the knockout stages. Sebastian Larsson wasn't so fortunate and his Sweden side crashed out of the competition with just one point.

No show from Sweden

Sunderland's three participants at this year's tournament all coincidentally ended up in Group E and faced off against each other. Larsson was included in Sweden's 23-man squad, despite not playing a great deal of first team football this year.

Sweden weren't regarded as favourites to qualify from the group stage and despite even with the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they failed to register a single win and ended up bottom of the group with one point.

Larsson started each of the three group games but failed to score or even assist his teammates. The 31-year-old will have been hoping for a better tournament to put himself in the shop window, as he is likely to be leaving Wearside this summer. 

Italian brilliance

Italy weren't regarded as a major threat going into this tournament but after the first two games they showed they may just go all the way. Emanuele Giaccherini may not have been in with a chance of earning a call up if he had stayed at Sunderland over the past two years but since moving back to his home country, he has refound his old form.

The midfielder had a fantastic season with Bologna and has been linked with a permanent move to the club. 

Giaccherini scored in Italy's win over Belgium and has performed well during the competition; This is likely to add a couple of million pounds to his transfer fee away from Sunderland this summer. 

Giaccherini scores against Belgium. | Image credit: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Giaccherini scores against Belgium. | Image credit: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Ireland leave it late

Irish veteran John O'Shea unfortunately wasn't on the pitch as Robbie Brady sent the 'boys in green' through to the next round. His presence wasn't missed as Martin O'Neill's men kept a clean sheet against Italy's second string side.

Before last night, O'Shea had played and captained his side for the previous two games. In both these games Ireland failed to keep a clean sheet but it may be harsh to put that all down to O'Shea being in the side. 

The questions will now be asked as to whether O'Shea will return to the starting line up against France next week. It would be a bold call from O'Neill to leave out the captain in such a huge game.