Ogbonna delighted for teammate despite defeat

  • Hammers defender Angelo Ogbonna was in action for Italy on Wednesday
  • They were beaten by Darren Randolph’s Republic of Ireland
  • But all four West Ham players at the Euros are through to the knockout stages
West Ham and Italy defender Angelo Ogbonna, despite experiencing defeat against the Republic of Ireland at UEFA Euro 2016, was delighted for Club teammate Darren Randolph as The Boys in Green secured qualification for the knockout stages.
The Azzurri, who had already topped Group E heading into Wednesday’s fixture against Martin O’Neill’s side, named a starting XI containing eight changes, including a place for Ogbonna who was yet to feature at the tournament.
And the Hammer who impressed at the Boleyn Ground in his first season at the Club helped Italy shut out Ireland until the final five minutes, when Robbie Brady sent his nation into raptures with a late header.
Ogbonna was left frustrated with the result, but was nevertheless pleased for Randolph who kept a clean sheet at the opposite end.
The Italian said: “I’m really happy for Darren because he played really well. For me, though, it was a massive game and we are disappointed.
“It was a really tough game against Ireland, and of course we are disappointed that we lost. We need to react now and look forward to the next game.”
Antonio Conte’s side knew their fate before the tie, and Spain await them in Paris in an exciting round-of-16 clash after they were beaten by Croatia to finish second in Group B.
Having four players going through is good for us for next year. It's great for things going forward for West Ham
Many have expressed the importance of momentum during the tournament however, and Ogbonna was no different after the single-goal defeat.
“We really wanted to win this match. Every game is really tough. But you don’t have to talk about that now though. We are focused on the next game against Spain.
“The game against Spain is very complicated. We have to prepare everything everywhere on the pitch. We have to keep our feet on the ground also, so step-by-step, we need to get there. We have to be focused for the match.”
The West Ham pair reaching the next stage of the competition made it four-out-of-four Hammers through to the knockouts, with Dimitri Payet’s France topping Group A and James Collins Wales doing the same in Group B.
And the experience all four players will have gained at tournament could prove vital for Slaven Bilic’s side in the Premier League and in Europe next season, according to Ogbonna.
“Darren, Ginge [James Collins] who will hopefully have the opportunity to play, and Dimi are all through. Dimi; I cannot explain Dimi! Everyone knows how superb he is.
“It’s good for us, it’s good for the team, for next year and for the new Stadium. It’s great for things going forward for West Ham. This is a really good tournament for us, for West Ham players to play at a European level.”