By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Former Newcastle United winger Damien Duff was handed the captain's armband on his 100th appearance for the Republic of Ireland, but was unable to inspire them to victory over Italy on Monday night.
The Irish went down 2-0 in Group C of Euro 2012, with Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli netting for the Azzurri in either half, leaving them pointless at the foot of the table and heading home from the competition.
Duff, who spent nearly three years on Tyneside between 2006 and 2009, started on the right flank and was involved in Cassano's opener as he unable to hook the Italian's header from a corner clear in time from his position on the goalline.
It was the eighth goal that Ireland - and another Ex-Magpie, goalkeeper Shay Given - had conceded during the tournament, and that figure became nine in stoppage time when Balotelli hooked home an acrobatic volley.