By Piero Fiorino & Richard Bowman
It was not the best game for Italy as they had nothing to play for after already topping Group E after just two games. For the Republic of Ireland, this game was everything, if they could win then they would finish third place in the group with a chance at making it to the knockout phase. Italy was content with defending and chasing in the midfield until later in the game when Italian manager Antonio Conte decided to go on the attack for it to only open up a perfect counter for the Republic of Ireland as Robbie Brady put it past Italian Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu in the 85th minute. The result meant nothing to Italy but this will not sit well with the Azzurri as they now have to look down the barrel at Spain.
Italy’s Lineup + Subs
Mattia De Sciglio
Stephan El Shaawary
Piero Fiorino: Italy drops their third and final game of this year’s Euros, as they lose to the Republic or Ireland 1-0. The single Irish goal came in the 85th minute as Wes Hoolahan sends in a perfect cross to Robbie Brady who headers it in past Salvatore Sirigu. Italy rested most of their starters, and Yes, they played defense and counter-attacked most of the game, but it just wasn’t enough to get past a desperate and very determined Irish team. Italy will hope for a better result come Monday, as they play Spain next.
Richard Bowman: Antonio Conte outsmarted himself in this one, not only did Italy come out to just defend and run around in the midfield with little urgency to attack the Republic of Ireland’s backline, but he elected to sub in more offensive minded players late in the game while electing to keep in both Barzagli and Bonucci who’re playing with yellow cards and it resulted in a late goal for the Republic of Ireland. It was somewhat of a positive to see Conte finally give playing time to both Lorenzo Insigne and Stephen El Shaawary. Italy could use both of them badly here in the knockout phase.
Man of the Match
Piero Fiorino: Lorenzo Insigne
Analysis: Although he only played a limited amount of time, Insigne was the only one who really created any chances for the Italian offense. It is a bit suspicious as to why he has touched the pitch only once since the Euros have begun, but regardless, he was the best player on the pitch today.
Richard Bowman: Lorenzo Insigne/Stephen El Shaarwary
Analysis: I was initially going to go with Salvatore Sirigu here, however, after his mishap which gave the Republic of the Ireland the win, I’ve decided to give it to both Lorenzo Insigne and Stephen El Shaarwary. Both players came on and not only showed fight but also created chances. Insigne should have scored and Shaarwary came close on another shot.
Player That Needs to Step Up vs Spain
Piero Fiorino: The entire team
Analysis: Yes, it’s true Italy rested most of their main starters. Regardless, though, there is no excuse for the lackadaisical play that came from this team today. They may be subs, but that doesn’t mean we can excuse them from all blame. they need to be able to be counted on in case something happens, And by the looks of today, it doesn’t look like they can be.
Richard Bowman: Midfield
Analysis: Antonio Conte needs to drop the whole run around and chase in the midfield, you can only run and chase for so long and with Spain coming up next for the Azzurri, they’ll need to make the most of their chances. Italy’s midfield isn’t the best but they do have good enough players to cause Spain problems on the counter, especially if Spain is caught out of position. It’s up to Conte to put out a much better midfield now or else we could see the Azzurri going home on Monday.
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