Italy v Rep of Ireland preview
Pride at stake as Irish hope to halt Italy challenge
By Jamie Casey. Last Updated: June 18, 2012 10:36am
Kevin Doyle has been restored to the starting line-up as the Republic of Ireland aim to salvage some pride in their final Group C game against Italy.
Giovanni Trapattoni's men are already eliminated from the European Championship, having lost their opening two games against Croatia and Spain respectively.
Italy must win if they are to have any hope for maintaining their challenge, but Trapattoni is not prepared to roll over for his homeland, naming his strongest possible side.
As expected, Simon Cox makes way for the return of Doyle, who was sacrificed against the Spaniards amid a failed tactical move from Trapattoni.
In a sentimental move, Damien Duff will captain the side at the expense of Robbie Keane to mark the Fulham winger's 100th appearance in a green shirt.
Shay Given keeps his place in goal, despite an indifferent tournament, while John O'Shea, Sean St Ledger, Stephen Ward and Richard Dunne complete the back four.
As ever, Duff and Aiden McGeady will operate the flanks in midfield, with Keith Andrews and Glenn Whelan in the centre.
Up front, Doyle reignites his partnership with Keane, who has this week reiterated his desire to continue with his international career after the Euros.
Meanwhile, a knee problem could force Mario Balotelli to miss out, with Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale waiting in line should the Manchester City striker fail to recover in time.
Boss Cesare Prandelli will be hoping for an improvement from his side, with successive 1-1 draws against Spain and Croatia leaving the Italians third in Group C.
Nothing less than a win will do, but the Azzurri may be forced to pile the pressure on the Republic, as goal difference could yet play its part should Croatia and Spain draw in the group's simultaneous fixture.
European Championships Group A
European Championships Group B
European Championships Group C
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European Championships Group D
Italy v Rep of Ireland
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Is the time right for Ireland to move on from the likes of Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle?
Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli hailed his side's fighting spirit as they fought their way to a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.