Italy vs. Republic of Ireland: 6 Keys to a Shock Irish Victory in Group C
Thursday was a deciding day in Group C at Euro 2012 as the Republic of Ireland were officially knocked out of the tournament with a loss to Spain.
Now, the Irish go into their match on Monday with Italy with nothing to lose.
With manager Giovanni Trapattoni's job possibly on the line and the future of some players international careers may be in question if Trapattoni is fired.
With nothing to lose, the Irish may give their boisterous fans something to really cheer about and spoil Italy's dreams as well with a win.
Here are six keys for The Boys in Green to follow to not go home empty-handed.
Embrace the Underdog Role
Throughout the entire existence of the Republic of Ireland national team, they have been the underdogs in most competitive matches.
Monday's match with Italy is just like every other Irish game: The Boys in Green are the underdogs.
Heading into Monday, the Irish are not only the underdogs, but they can be the spoilers as well.
If Trapattoni's men get even a point out of Monday's match, they will have ruined Italy's chances of advancing out of Group C.
Play with the Same Energy That Their Fans Have
One thing that was very noticeable on Thursday in Gdansk was how loud the Irish fans were during the whole match.
Even after the Irish went down by four goals, the Irish fans were as loud as ever.
If The Boys in Green play with the same enthusiasm that their fans have, then not only will the team have played their hearts out, they will have earned the respect of their fans and opposing fans.
Bench Robbie Keane
This may be the most controversial of all these keys to the Italy match.
Keeping the Republic of Ireland captain out of the lineup may actually help The Boys in Green.
He has not been in the best from and the veteran leadership in the team will not be hurt as they have plenty of veterans in defense and midfield.
Also, it would not be a bad thing to change things up a little bit and have either Kevin Doyle, Jon Walters or Simon Cox fill the spots up front in place of Keane.
Give the Young Players a Chance
Republic of Ireland fans got a 10-minute glimpse of young star James McClean on Thursday, but he barely saw the ball.
With nothing to lose on Monday, Trapattoni should give McClean, Darron Gibson and either Shane Long or Simon Cox a chance in the starting 11.
McClean has shown he has great pace while playing at Sunderland this season and Irish fans have been calling for the winger to be on the pitch during the first two games.
Gibson would start in midfield in place of Glenn Whelan and the two forwards may get a chance to play up front together if Keane is sent to the bench.
Shay Given's Impeccable Form in Goal
There were many doubts going into Euro 2012 that Shay Given would not be fully fit to play for the Republic of Ireland.
Given showed the world that he is 100 percent in good health with his spectacular performance against Spain.
Although he did let in four goals, Given saved plenty of potential goals.
Without Given, the scoreline may have been even more lopsided on Thursday.
To be fair, Italy will not have as many chances on goal as Spain, but when needed in goal, Given will have to be there to give the Irish a chance.
Control Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo is the best player on the Italian squad and for the Republic of Ireland to even have a chance on Monday, Pirlo must be stopped.
The 33-year-old is the midfield maestro for the Azzurri and if he is stopped, Italy can be beaten.
If the back four and central midfielders close in on Pirlo and do not give him space during throughout the match, the Italians will be much easier to stop.
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