SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Stephen Kenny: Ireland boss says win over Netherlands can reignite Euro 2024 hopes

Stephen Kenny tries to rally his players during the 2-0 defeat at the Parc des Princes
Stephen Kenny's Republic of Ireland side remain fourth in the table but are only three points behind the second-placed Dutch

Stephen Kenny believes his Republic of Ireland side's Euro 2024 hopes can be reignited if they are able to produce the "performance of their lives" against the Netherlands on Sunday.

The 2-0 defeat to France in Paris on Thursday left the Irish with only three points from their first four games.

Realistically only a shock victory over the Dutch in Dublin can keep alive any slim qualification hopes.

"We've just got to get ready for Sunday now," said Kenny.

"We knew that if we beat Holland on Sunday, we're level [on points]. We've got Greece at home and Gibraltar away in October, so [the match against the Netherlands] is that big for us.

"The energy of the home crowd has been special. It's been electric at home and we need that again on Sunday to pull out the performance of our lives. That's what we've got to do."

Aurelien Tchouameni celebrates opening the scoring against the Republic of Ireland
Aurelien Tchouameni (left) put the star-studded French side into the lead against the Irish

The Netherlands earned a 3-0 win over the Greeks in Eindhoven to move them into second place in the table - nine points behind France - but the Dutch have two games in hand.

Greece are level on six points with the Netherlands having played a game more, with the Republic on three points from their four matches.

The Irish arrived in Paris knowing they were up against it because of the quality of both the opposition and the heat, and while they battled manfully throughout, the gulf in class was evident as Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele all starred for the hosts.

France manager Didier Deschamps was able to bring Champions League winners on from his bench while one of Kenny's substitutes, James McClean, is currently playing his football with League Two Wrexham.

Aurelien Tchouameni blasted the French into a 19th-minute lead as Ireland once again conceded from distance, and the side ranked second in the world never looked back against opponents rated 53rd by Fifa.

They increased their lead three minutes after the restart through substitute Marcus Thuram, a first-half replacement for the injured Olivier Giroud.

'I can't fault my players' - Kenny

Although it took a good save by Mike Maignan to keep out Chiedozie Ogbene's header, the Republic had to defend for their lives to ensure the margin of victory did not stretch beyond 2-0.

Kenny praised his players' refusal to collapse in the hot Paris conditions.

"France are a world-class team, a really top-class international team, one of the best teams in the world - if not the best.

"But I can't fault my players. I thought they gave everything in the match.

"We were beaten by a better team for sure. For a lot of the players it's the best team they have played against.

"Of course we could have done better at times, for sure, but everyone gave everything of themselves."