herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

It's life or death

Conte's wary of Irish threat

Italy coach Antonio Conte. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Italy coach Antonio Conte. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Antonio Conte has warned his back-up boys it is "life or death" against the Azzuri in the Stade Pierre Mauroy tonight.

The Italian manager will ring the changes after back-to-back wins over Sweden and Belgium.

But he has no intention of easing back simply because the knockout phase is already guaranteed.

"Don't forget this team beat Germany 1-0. You don't beat Germany by the grace of God or because you have a lucky day," he said.

"They have significant ability and everyone helps each other. This is life or death for them and we don't want to get it wrong."

Martin O'Neill once again urged his team to recover the form which almost beat Sweden in the Stade de France ten days ago.

"We have to be very strong. We have to get back the momentum we had from the Swedish game. We created chances and we might have to take one or two more," he said.

"Italy with the changes in the team will be very dangerous because they are Italy," he added. "It's a matter of winning a game and there's a decent chance we will got to last sixteen. Four points would be an achievement.

"The players know what to do and they are ready for it," said the Ireland boss.

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