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Duffy in contention for crunch clash

22 June 2016

Shane Duffy will be hoping for his first taste of tournament action when the Republic of Ireland take on Italy in their final group game this evening.

The Rovers defender has so far been a frustrated spectator in France, forced to watch on from the sidelines as Martin O’Neill’s men have drawn 1-1 with Sweden and lost 3-0 to Belgium.

Tonight, the Irish come up against an Italian team who top Group E with six points following victories over Belgium (2-0) and Sweden (1-0).

Victory in Lille will ensure that Ireland finish at least third and four points would guarantee their place in the last 16.

Ireland could still finish second, if they win and Sweden also win – with Ireland's winning margin at least two goals greater than Sweden's.

Should they fail to beat Italy, who have already qualified as group winners, then Ireland are out.

Duffy will hope to follow in the footsteps of Rovers team-mate Corry Evans, whose Northern Ireland side last night qualified for the knockout stage.

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