The Republic of Ireland heads into a crucial match against Italy on Wednesday as they face elimination in case they lose in their final group stage match of the UEFA Euro 2016.
The Italy vs Ireland match kicks off at 3 p.m. EDT/9 p.m. BST at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France. ITV1 will broadcast the game live and the coverage starts at 8:30 p.m. BST.
Italy will go into the game confidently as they have already secured a spot in the Euro 16 bracket having won two of their three games. With their six points, Italy became the first team to clinch the top spot in Group E after taking down Sweden 1-0 in the dying minutes of their second group stage match.
Their 2-0 win against Belgium, their first match of the UEFA Euro 2016 finals, came as a shock to everyone as Antonio Conte’s men demonstrated a perfect defensive performance and counter-attacking with destruction.
The Republic of Ireland, on the other hand, must beat Italy to have any chance of reaching the last 16 as they sit at the bottom of the group with a single point via a 1-1 draw against Sweden in their opening match. They will be coming from an 0-3 beating by Belgium last Saturday.
Ireland hopes to end their winless streak as Italy is likely to rest some of their men which could prove an advantage to them. With six players currently one booking away from a suspension – Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele De Rossi, Eder and Thiago Motta – Conte is expected to heavily rotate his starting lineup with his side assured of finishing as group winners.
Ireland is hoping to have Jon Walters fit. Their key forward is still looking to play his first minutes in this finals, having been included in the squad despite an achilles injury. Still, it will be difficult for Ireland to win as their side has played poorly so far and it is likely that the Italians will beat them easily even with their reserve players.
Here?s all you need to know:
Who: Italy vs. Ireland
What: Group E, European Championship
When: Wednesday, June 23, 2016
Kickoff: 3 p.m. EDT
TV Channel: ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Italy: Sirigu, De Sciglio, Barzagli, Ogbonna, Darmian, Bernardeschi, Thiago Motta, Sturaro, El Shaarawy, Zaza, Immobile.
Republic of Ireland: Randolph, Coleman, O’Shea, Duffy, Brady, Hendrick, Whelan, Quinn, Hoolahan, Murphy, Long.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Italy won the Euro Cup in 1968. They last reached the Finals in 2000 wherein they lost to Belgium.
Republic of Ireland: LDLDDWWDLW
Ireland, for their part, has never gone beyond the Group stages in the UEFA Euro Cup so far.