SportSoccer

O’Neill calls for players to take inspiration from Germany win

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill

Martin O'Neill has called on his players to take inspiration from last October's win over Germany as they face into tomorrow's decisive Euro 2016 showdown with Italy.

Rather than recalling the famous win over the Azzurri in 1994, O'Neill noted that many of his players were babes in arms at the time and that they should draw inspiration from a much more recent famous victory.

"That was an extraordinary night, extraordinary," said the Kilrea man. "Beating the World Championship when we had to in order to go forward in the competition, beating the world champions, just saying it sounds special.

"The lads must take that performance, and the two against Bosnia in the play-offs, into this match. They can do it."

O'Neill used the words 'energy' and 'energetic' several times in his pre-match Press Conference, as he indicated that he would freshen the team up with some running power from lads who have yet to play in France.

Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy, Stephen Quinn and Daryl Murphy are among those whose names have been mentioned as having a chance of starting against the Azzurri who will begin the game with only two of the 11 players who started against Sweden last Friday.

When told of Italian manager Antonio Conte's plan, O'Neill added - "I'd the very same in his position. If you can rest players and avoid yellow cards then you do."

The team had planned a walkaround at the Lille stadium after O'Neill's gig, having been asked by UEFA not to fully train on the pitch because it is in a bad way.

They cancelled that, but to say the pitch is in a bad way is an understatement. The surface is badly rutted with big divots evident. You hope it won't come to this, but it might.

That's Ireland's fate in Euro 2016 is decided by an Irish or Italian player slipping on a dreadful pitch, leading to a goal tomorrow night.