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Italy vs Ireland Preview, Team News, Line-Ups, Betting Tips & Prediction

Ireland take on Italy in their final Euro 2016 group game tonight desperately needing a win to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.


Image: Wikimedia

The Republic of Ireland take on Italy at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille in their final Euro 2016 group game tonight desperately needing a win to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

Martin O’Neill’s side sit bottom of Group E on just one point after following up a frustrating opening 1-1 draw with Sweden with a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Belgium last time out.

Therefore, the Irish know they need all three points to put themselves in with a chance of booking their place in the last 16 of the competition as one of the best third-placed teams.

The good news for O’Neill is that Antonio Conte plans to rest some of his key men after Italy guaranteed themselves top spot with consecutive wins over Sweden and Belgium leaving them three points clear at the top with a better head-to-head record over their rivals.

Team news

O’Neill is set to be without Stoke forward Jonathan Walters as the Achilles injury that kept him out of the defeat to Belgium will once again keep him on the sidelines.

Italy are set to name a weakened side with the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Graziano Pelle, and Daniele De Rossi all set to be rested by Conte.

This will open the door for the likes of Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian and West Ham centre-back Angelo Ogbonna to come in to the starting eleven.

Possible line-ups

Italy: Sirigu, Barzagli, Ogbonna, Darmian, Motta, Bernadeschi, Sturaro, Insigne, Florenzi, El Shaarawy, Zaza

Ireland: Randolph, Coleman, O’Shea, Clark, Brady, McCarthy, Whelan, Hendrick, Hoolahan, Walters, Long

Predicted Score

Italy 1-1 Ireland: Unfortunately, even a weakened Italian side looks full of quality and I think they’ll do enough to get a draw to maintain their unbeaten record in the group stages. A point will be a decent result for the Irish but it won’t be good enough to see them progress to the last 16.

Betting tips

Betting hasn’t been easy at the Euro’s so far as none of the top sides have really hit top form yet but the Italians have arguably looked the strongest side so far. It’s no coincidence that the William Hill betting odds for UEFA Euro 2016 Championships have Italy among the favourites to go all the way this summer. The fact Conte will field a weakened side tonight will obviously affect the betting odds for this game and you can get an Italy win at 29/20 with Ireland backed at 23/10. However, I’m going for a draw which is available at odds of 11/5 and for extra value, why not back El Shaarawy as the first goal-scorer in a scorecast at odds of 45/1.

What do you think the score will be tonight? What starting eleven would you like to see Coleman select?

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