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Conte Confirms That Italy Will Rest Players, But Is That Actually Bad News For Ireland?

Conte Confirms That Italy Will Rest Players, But Is That Actually Bad News For Ireland?
By Mikey Traynor
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Eder's late goal against Sweden guaranteed Italy a spot in the knockout phase of Euro 2016, and while the goal could certainly be of benefit to Ireland by keeping Sweden at one point and allowing the Italians to rest key players, it may not all be good news for the boys in green.

Initially Irish fans would have been delighted that Italy reached six points before playing us as many were hoping that it would lead to Antonio Conte fielding a weakened team in Lille, and this was confirmed by the Italy boss.

Great news, right? Well, maybe not.

While the Italians are likely to rest Giorgio Chiellini as he is in yellow card trouble, something which would undoubtedly be a massive boost to Martin O'Neill's men, any changes to their forward line could actually work against us.

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Graziano Pelle and Eder have, so far in this tournament, provided little for the Irish defenders to fear. In fact, were Pelle to start then his physical style of play would be ideal for the likes of John O'Shea and whoever partners him, but the probable replacements in attack offer an entirely different threat.

Lorenzo Insigne and Stephan El Shaarawy are the two players waiting for a chance to impress, and stylistically they are not ideal for the Irish defence. Both quick, skilful players who love to take on a man and shoot from all angles, they are not who we should be hoping to see in the Italian lineup.

El Shaarawy enjoyed a fantastic second half to the season with AS Roma, and Insigne was one of the very best players in Serie A for Napoli all season long. Both are extremely dangerous players, and with a point to prove to their coach, do we really want to see them in the Italian team?

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No. We want to see Simone Zaza instead. Conte has been accused of Juventus bias regularly during his spell in charge of the Azzuri, and should he opt for Zaza as he has done from the bench ahead of both Insigne and El Shaarawy, then those accusations will kick into overdrive.

We have to play Belgium first, of course, and that game is absolutely massive in terms of the shape of the group going into the game against Italy, but to say that Italy resting players is great news for Ireland isn't entirely correct. The way that Italy have played, strong in defence but offering little in attack, looked to suit us down to the ground, but changes in personnel may bring about a change in system, and we liked what we saw in the first two games.

SEE ALSO: After That Italian Goal, Here's Exactly What Needs To Happen For Ireland To Progress

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