Uefa European U17 Championship
Republic of Ireland v Italy
Tomorrow: Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, 2pm (Irish time)
TV: Live on TG4, Eurosport 2
Having shown their tenacity to secure a 0-0 draw with Holland in their opening game on Thursday, facing Italy tomorrow is all about focus and discipline for Tom Mohan’s Republic of Ireland.
While Ireland have something on the table, the Italians’ 1-0 loss to England in their opening game means they must get a result in Stara Zagora or they are out of the tournament.
“They’ll have to get something and that adds to the demands of the game for us too,” said manager Mohan.
“We’re in a good place going into it, but we can’t be complacent.
“The point against Holland was great, but we’ve to look forward and get everyone ready and focused for the Italian game.
“The players are in good form and good spirits because they know it was an important point and the importance of having something going into this second game.
“The recovery session went well and all bodies are good.”
While they won by the only goal, England created five times as many chances than Italy in their game in Bourgas.
The Italians also shipped three yellow cards in committing twice as many fouls as England.
“It is, yes,” agreed Mohan in regard to all his players keeping their discipline tomorrow. “At this level the further you go on, the demands on players’ discipline is key. It’s part and parcel of the game and young players’ development. They have to learn that.”
AC Milan-based, Manuel Locatelli, Italy’s number 10, is seen as the danger man.
“He’s a good player, their playmaker. A lot of their stuff goes through him. He has a good range of passing,” said Mohan.
“They’ve got a threat up front too. They’ll be organised as well. It’s a different type of challenge. There will be nothing easy about it.
“The game against Holland was an open game and both teams got chances. This will be no different.
“We’ve got good attacking players. We’ll look to go and attack them and create opportunities.
“You want to be going into the final group game in with a chance of qualifying.
“It’s Italy now and we’ll do our homework and get our game plan for Sunday.”
Ireland go into the game with no injuries to report, and defender Corey O’Keeffe is back from suspension.
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