Kiev, Ukraine: European football's governing body is to give a special award to fans of the Republic of Ireland for their behaviour in Euro 2012 co-host Poland, UEFA's secretary-general, Gianni Infantino, said on Saturday.
"The executive committee has decided to give a special award to the Irish football fans," he told a news conference in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on the eve of the Euro 2012 final between holders Spain and Italy.
"Everyone was very impressed by the fans of the national team of the Republic of Ireland who came to Poland. The team's results were mitigated by the fans. (UEFA) president (Michel) Platini will go to Ireland to give the award."
The Republic of Ireland lost all three of their Group C matches against Spain, Italy and Croatia but there was high praise from the Polish press, public and authorities for the way in which the team's fans conducted themselves.
Irish fans captured Polish hearts in particular after their 4-0 defeat to Spain in the Baltic port city of Gdansk with their good cheer and song.
Indeed so moved was Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that he told his fellow commentators from French TV channel TF1 to stop commentating and listen to the fans as the match drew to a close.
"At the end of the match, when the world champions were resting on their laurels on the field, Irish fans stood and sang for five minutes, as if victory were theirs. How can you not love Ireland?" asked the centre-left Gazeta Wyborcza daily.