Italy v Ireland: O’Neill gambles with bold selection

John O’Shea, Ciaran Clark, Glenn Whelan and Wes Hoolahan dropped for tie in Lille

Ireland’s John O’Shea was replaced in the starting line-up for tonight’s game against Italy. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland’s John O’Shea was replaced in the starting line-up for tonight’s game against Italy. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Manager Martin O’Neill went for broke as he attempted to extend the Republic of Ireland’s stay at Euro 2016 with a shock victory over Italy. O’Neill changed both central defenders, replacing John O’Shea and Ciaran Clark with Shane Duffy and Richard Keogh.

With victory imperative, he also handed winger James McClean his first start of the competition and paired Daryl Murphy with Shane Long in attack as Glenn Whelan and Wes Hoolahan made way.

Italy boss Antonio Conte, who said he would make between seven and nine changes on the eve of the game, was as good as his word as he retained the services of only Leonardo Bonucci, Alessandro Florenzi and Andrea Barzagli with top spot in Group E already safe.

Italy: Sirigu, Barzagli, Bonucci, Ogbonna, Bernardeschi, Sturaro, Thiago Motta, Florenzi, De Sciglio, Zaza, Immobile. Subs: Buffon, Chiellini, Darmian, Candreva, Pelle, De Rossi, Eder, Parolo, Insigne, El Shaarawy, Giaccherini, Marchetti. Rep of

Ireland: Randolph, Coleman, Duffy, Keogh, Ward, Hendrick, McClean, McCarthy, Brady, Long, Murphy. Subs: Westwood, Clark, O’Shea, Whelan, McGeady, Keane, Walters, Christie, Meyler, Hoolahan, Quinn, Given.

Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania)

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