NEWS
Monday June 18 2012
Line-ups: Italy-Ireland

As expected, Italy switch to a 4-3-1-2 with Antonio Di Natale and Antonio Cassano in attack against the Republic of Ireland.

Kick-off in Poznan is at 19.45 UK time and the Azzurri must win to have any hope of going through to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

That might not even be enough, as if Spain-Croatia ends 1-1 they’ll have to win by at least two clear goals (not including 2-0) and if that game ends 2-2 then whatever Italy do is rendered futile.

Cesare Prandelli had used the 3-5-2 so far in the tournament, but have returned to a 4-3-1-2 system that got them through qualifying.

Mario Balotelli has shaken off a knee injury, but is still on the bench in favour of Di Natale with Thiago Motta as a trequartista.

Andrea Barzagli returns from a calf strain to make his first appearance of the competition, pushing Daniele De Rossi back into his old midfield role.

Full-backs Ignazio Abate and Federico Balzaretti also get their first starts in place of Christian Maggio and Emanuele Giaccherini.

Giovanni Trapattoni has confirmed the XI that started Ireland’s opening game against Croatia, although the Republic are already eliminated from the tournament.

The ‘boys in green’ have lost both matches 3-1 to Croatia and 4-0 to Spain, but give Damien Duff the captain’s armband to mark his 100th cap.

Italy: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Balzaretti; De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio; Motta; Cassano, Di Natale

Republic of Ireland: Given; O’Shea, St Ledger, Dunne, Ward; McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Duff; Doyle, Keane

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