Euro 2016: Pleasure and pain for Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan ahead of crunch Italy clash

Norwich City's Republic of Irelan midfielder Wes Hoolahan knows it is make-or-break in Wednesday's E

Norwich City's Republic of Irelan midfielder Wes Hoolahan knows it is make-or-break in Wednesday's Euro 2016 group finale against Italy. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Wes Hoolahan has admitted the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 3-0 defeat to Belgium brought him back to earth with a bump just days after he enjoyed one of the biggest moments of his career.

The Republic face an early exit from the competition unless they can beat Italy on Wednesday night in their Group E finale, barely a week on from the euphoria of Hoolahan's goalscoring display in the opening 1-1 draw against Sweden at the Stade de France which faded dramatically following Saturday's 3-0 drubbing to the Belgians in Bordeaux.

'It brought us back into reality. It's important that over the next couple of days that we get our heads on the game,' said the Dubliner. 'The most important thing is that we get the three points which gives us a great chance of getting out of the group.'

Only victory over Italy - Antonio Conte's men are yet to concede and have already clinched top spot in Group E with a game to spare - will give the Republic a chance of making the last 16, although Hoolahan insists he and his team-mates are not fazed by the prospect.

'It all depends on what we do. It's not what they do,' said the 34-year-old. 'It's important that we're on the front foot, keep the ball better and create chances.'

Hoolahan revealed he was inundated by messages of support after his beautifully taken goal against Sweden capped a fine individual display.

'The place (team hotel) was buzzing,' he said. 'I got hundreds of texts with people congratulating me and saying well done, and it was a great night.'

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