Euro 2016: Italy vs Republic of Ireland - Live stream info, probable line-up, head to head(h2h) record and match preview
The last group game for Italy and Ireland has a lot riding on it, thanks to the new qualification format of Euro 2016. The Italians are already through to the next round but the Irish need a win to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout round. While the Azzurri won both their games in the group, easily dispatching Sweden and Belgium, Ireland have had a much tougher time as they drew against the Swedes but lost to Belgium.
Martin O’Neill’s side have to perform better than they did against the Red Devils, which they lost 3-0 and the Irish will hope that the Italians will field a weaker side since the 2006 World Cup champions have already made it to the next round.
Italy will surely be looking to give their players a break as they next face Spain in the knockout round after the Spanish surprisingly lost to Croatia last night. It is a little complicated for Ireland who could finish second or third in the group and that could end up with a round-of-16 clash against the winner of Group F or against tournament hosts France.
Ireland did qualify for Euro 2012 but were knocked out from the Group stage without registering a point and will need some Irish luck to get the better of their Italian counterparts.
The Italy-Republic of Ireland clash will take place from 00:30 IST (Thursday) 20:00 BST and the live streaming of the game can be seen on SonyLIV. Follow Italy vs Republic of Ireland, Euro 2016 Live Score and Commentary with Sportskeeda. The match will be telecasted live on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD in India, Fox Sports in the USA and Premier Sports in the UK. The match will be played at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille.
With the Italian side already through to the next round as Group toppers, there is no reason for head coach Antonio Conte to risk some of his players who are on the verge of getting booked. The Italian has stated that he will field a strong side to face Ireland but there should be a few changes in the team.
There is a lot of speculation that Gianluigi Buffon, Georgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will be rested as all three could miss the next game if they are booked. Antonio Candreva is a major doubt for the game given his thigh problem and even Thiago Motta is walking a tightrope given that he too is a booking away from suspension.
Ireland, on the other hand, know they have to go all guns blazing in this crucial encounter and O’Neill cannot risk resting his players. There is a major doubt about the availability of Stoke City forward Jon Walters but the rest of the squad should be fit for the game.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
The Italians have been incredible in their past five matches, having lost just one of them while Ireland haven’t been on the winning side in their last five games, having drawn three of them.
Republic of Ireland: L-D-L-D-D
Head to head
Italy and Ireland have met 13 times throughout their history and the men in blue have the edge over their Irish counterparts. The Italians have won eight out of the thirteen games played between them with just a couple of losses.
One major loss came in the 1994 World Cup when Ireland shocked the much-fancied Italy team. Ireland can be a little optimistic about their chances in the game as they had drawn with Italy in 2014, but that result will not be enough for the side to make it through.
The two sides met in Euro 2012 and it was Italy that came out with the win thanks to a 2-0 scoreline. Antonio Conte isn’t taking the game lightly and was quoted by UEFA.com earlier:
“After the Sweden game and seeing the lads in training, I changed my mind over a few things and so there will be changes. It's not a meaningless game – it's useful for us and for me. There is no such thing as a first-choice team and reserves. We have 23 players who win and lose together, including all the staff.”
Martin O’Neill also spoke ahead of the clash and hoped that Italy will rest a few key individuals:
“Italy will just be looking after themselves. They've won the group after two games. Now, whatever comes or goes about this result, it doesn't matter to them. It's a great position to be in, because what they can rest players who have played two games in four days or so. They can also take out those players who have yellow cards.”
Even though Italy are favourites for the game , the fact that they would be making a few changes to the side cannot be overlooked. Ireland will be looking to take on an Italian defence which may not feature their best players and hopefully score a goal or two.
Italy should still have enough in the tank to hold the Irish team and the game could end in a 0-0 draw.