Euro 2016: Republic striker Walters unlikely to face Italy

Jonathan Walters is unlike to be fit to face the Italians on Wednesday
Jonathan Walters is facing an uphill battle to be fit to face the Italians on Wednesday
Euro 2016: Italy v Rep of Ireland
Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille Date: 22 June Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, plus live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill rates forward Jonathan Walters as "very doubtful" for the crunch Group E clash with Italy in Lille.

The Stoke City striker is struggling with an Achilles injury and missed Saturday's 3-0 defeat by Belgium.

"Jon didn't train [on Tuesday] - I'd have to say he'd be very doubtful for the game," said O'Neill.

The Irish need to beat Italy, who are guaranteed top spot, in order to progress into the last 16.

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Walters was forced off with the injury after 64 minutes in the opening draw with Sweden.

The Republic head into the game propping up Group E but they could face an Italian team featuring as many nine changes.

Reports suggest Azzurri boss Antonio Conte will rest key players with qualification already assured.

Make or break

O'Neill hopes his side can repeat their impressive display against the Swedes in the must-win encounter.

"We have to play the game with a lot of energy and just be mindful of how decent the Italians are," he said.

"We must just be mindful ourselves of what we achieved against Sweden... and take that sort of performance into consideration when you're thinking about the game.

"It's a fairly lengthy evening. We know at the end of it we have to be in front. It's a case of being very strong to begin with. I think we've to be fresh, alert.

"Whatever comes or goes the players are ready for it. We've done a little bit of training with those who haven't participated in the games and if called upon they're ready."

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