Irish U17s need to beat England to keep hopes alive
The Republic of Ireland's young Boys in Green will be chomping at the bit against England on Wednesday, insists boss Tom Mohan, as they battle to stay at these UEFA Under-17 finals in Bulgaria.
With only a point from their opening draw against Holland, Ireland know that a 2-0 win over England in their final Group D game back here in Stara Zagora will put them through to the quarter-finals. It's a huge incentice for Mohan's squad.
Mohan said: "I can't fault the effort and commitment of the players. Some of them could barely stand at the end. The spirit is there and we've got to build our preparation around that spirit and determination.
"There will be boys chomping at the bit to play against England."
Ireland's decent start counted for nothing as Italy took the lead on ten minutes.
Gianluca Scamacca and Patrick Cutrone set up Simone Lo Faso who beat Caoimhin Kelleher with a rising right foot shot from inside the area.
Ireland started the second half well with Jamie Aherne and substitute Josh Barrett having chances. But Italy punished poor defending to score a second goal on 56 minutes. A sliced clearance from Corey O'Keeffe (pictured) was latched onto by Lo Faso who teed up substitute Simone Mazzocchi whose shot found the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
"We were just done by two errors. They were clinical," said Mohan. "The errors we made were punished. You have to give Italy credit for that. Their front payers were clinical with their finishing. That was the difference between the sides."
Republic of Ireland: Kelleher (Ringmahon Rangers); O'Keeffe (Birmingham), Masterson (Liverpool), Leahy (Coventry), Lunney (Preston); Agyei-Tabi (Arsenal), Livingston (Wolves); Ronan (Wolves); Elbouzedi (West Brom), Aherne (Lucan United), Clarke (St. Kevin's). Subs: Scully (West Ham) for Clarke (half-time), Barrett (Reading) for Elbouzedi (49 mins.), Wade-Slater (St. Kevin's) for Aherne (71 mins.).