Martin O'Neill makes four big changes for do-or-die clash

Martin O’Neill has made a raft of changes ahead of tonight’s do-or-die clash against Italy, writes Stephen Barry.

O’Neill has included two strikers and a new centre-half pairing as Ireland bid to rescue a first win at the European Championships since Ray Houghton’s goal sank England at Euro ’88.

Daryl Murphy, who is yet to score for Ireland in 21 games, joins Shane Long in attack. Goalscorer against Sweden Wes Hoolahan misses out.

John O’Shea, who captained Ireland against Sweden and Belgium, and Ciaran Clark are both dropped, with Richard Keogh and Shane Duffy coming in. Blackburn defender Duffy makes his fourth appearance in green.

James McClean comes into midfield, with Glenn Whelan left out. James McCarthy is likely to police the centre of midfield with one of McClean, Jeff Hendrick or Robbie Brady.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill in conversation with James McClean, who starts tonight at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille. Photo by David Maher / Sportsfile
Ireland manager Martin O'Neill in conversation with James McClean, who starts tonight at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille. Photo by David Maher / Sportsfile

Seamus Coleman and Stephen Ward retain their positions in the full-back berths.

Anything less than a win means elimination at the group stage for a third successive Euros.

Martin O'Neill makes four big changes for do-or-die clash

Italy make eight changes as they prepare for a last-16 tie against Spain.

Their manager Antonio Conte had already admitted that wholesale changes were likely, as his side have already secured top-spot in Group E.

Gianluigi Buffon is replaced in goal by PSG’s Salvatore Sirigu.

Centre-backs Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci remain and are joined by West Ham’s Angelo Ogbonna.

Alessandro Florenzi is the only other survivor from Italy’s win against Belgium. He will play in midfield with Thiago Motta, Stefano Sturaro and wide-men Mattia De Sciglio and Federico Bernardeschi.

Simone Zaza of Juventus and Torino’s Ciro Immobile lead their attack.

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