Euro 2021 European Qualifier Preview: Republic of Ireland U21 -v- Italy U21Thu, Oct 10 2019
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Stephen Kenny will be hoping his side can continue their unbeaten start in their Group 1 Euro 2021 qualifiers as they host Italy at Tallaght Stadium this evening (kick-off 8.05pm).
The current crop of players Kenny has at his disposal has fans extremely excited at the moment with names like Troy Parrott, Adam Idah and Conor Ronan giving supporters plenty of reason to be looking towards the future in a very positive frame of mind.
Ireland are currently enjoying top spot in the group taking maximum points in their first three games with Iceland on six and tonight’s opponents on three having both played one and two games less respectively.
Confidence won’t be a problem for Kenny’s side this evening as they come into the game off a hugely impressive 3-1 away win against a strong Sweden side in their last qualifier.
Influential midfielder Connor Ronan’s return is a huge boost for the home side having missed the last two qualifiers as a result of injury.
The Wolves midfielder is currently on loan with Slovakian side Dunajská Streda and has made a strong start to the season including getting himself on the scoresheet in the recent Europa League qualifiers.
The 21-year-old is enjoying the Slovakian challenge and is also relishing the opportunity of welcoming the Italians to town.
"It's great to be back, it was the first thing I thought of when I got my injury that I'll be missing out on the two matches," admitted Ronan.
"I would have obviously liked to have been there as well but it's great to be back involved and I'm really looking forward to the game tomorrow."
"I'm really enjoying it in Slovakia. I think it's really important for me at this stage of my career to be getting regular game-time at club level," continued Ronan.
"I feel like I'm getting better and better with more time on the pitch. It's helped me get in the Under-21 squad as well and it's been a brilliant year so far. We're all buzzing for the game, especially with the sell-out so hopefully we can get the result we need."
Ireland’s settled defence will need to be at the top of their game once more with Italy well used to finding the back of the net.
Our defensive record has been solid so far conceding just one goal in the three games to date but Italy come to town with five goals scored in their opening game albeit against bottom seeds Luxembourg.
Stephen Kenny will have to plot the downfall of Italy without the in form Aaron Connolly with his recent Premier League debut performance earning the Galway man a senior call up by Mick McCsrthy for the upcoming qualifiers against Georgia and Switzerland.
Italy have played just one game in the qualifying group so far beating bottom seeds Luxembourg 5-0 to get their campaign off to a perfect start.
Italy are widely expected to claim the sole automatic qualifying spot from the group especially with their very exciting attacking players available to manager Paulo Nicolato.
Despite being favourites for the game Nicolato is still expecting a tough evening against Ireland and in looking ahead to the game described it as a ‘complicated’ task.
“This is a match against opponents who have been working together since March and are at a more advanced stage in their preparation” said Nicolato ahead of the game.
“We will stick with our focus on attacking football, maintaining possession and the initiative throughout the game.
“Ireland don’t play a typically British style of football, but they have good technique and organisation, they score goals quite easily.”
Referee: Sascha Stegemann (Germany).
Ireland will be looking for their fourth win in as many group games this evening having taken maximum points in their opening three fixtures.
Italy’s squad includes Premier League players Moise Kean and Patrick Cutrone
Republic of Ireland U21 1-2 Italy U21
Republic of Ireland