Qualified Italy fully focussed against hopeful Ireland

Italy selector Antonio Conte plans to use several reserves while staying fully focussed against Ireland Wednesday in the last game of Group E after clinching early qualification to the knock-out stage of Euro 2016.

Wins over Belgium and Sweden – 2-0 and 1-0 respectively – allowed Italy to secure first place, but the coach said he will accept no slackening from his squad.

The Irish need a win to have any chance of progressing, having suffered a 3-0 hammering by Belgium after drawing 1-1 with Sweden.

"We must try to be humble. Recalling what our pluses and defects are, which can be many. We started out well but should never forget where we come from," Conte said.

"We are already qualified, but this does not count ... We must play game by game in the best possible way. I do not like to talk about reserves. I know that those who played less and are chosen to play [Wednesday] will give me their maximum."

With defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini booked and risking to miss the following game, Matteo Darmian and Angelo Ogbonna could play in defence, as veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who was also booked, should also stay out.

Goalkeeping captain Gianluigi Buffon has battled the flu and is to miss the game along with winger Antonio Candreva, who could only train on his own in recent days thanks to an ongoing hamstring problem.

"I feel very well. I had about three days with the flu," Gianluigi Buffon said. "I think I will not play and I think it is fair."

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill said his team do not need to draw inspiration from a previous win over Italy at the 1994 World Cup.

"We want to get back the momentum we created in the Sweden game," O'Neill said. "Italy are a quality side, we have to be ready, and we are. There is good confidence about the team.

"The squad believe we can do it," full-back Seamus Coleman said. "When it all clicks for us we are capable. We genuinely believe there is a big result in us. Our fans have been brilliant. We really want to give them something to celebrate."

O'Neill is likely to be without forward Jon Walters, who he rated as "very doubtful" with an Achilles injury as he did not train on Tuesday.

Last update: Tue, 21/06/2016 - 20:02

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