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Published: 15:46 | 21/6/16

Walters very doubtful for Italy tie


Jonathan Walters is 'very doubtful' to feature in the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 Group E game against Italy on Wednesday.

Walters did not feature in Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Belgium after aggravating an Achilles injury during the 1-1 draw with Sweden and he appears to have run out of time to prove his fitness ahead of Ireland's final Group E game.

The Stoke striker did not train with the Irish squad in Versailles on Tuesday and manager Martin O'Neill admits he is almost certain to miss the match in Lille.

“Jon didn't train with the team and I would have to say that he would be very doubtful for the game,” O’Neill told reporters.

"When you boil it down to what it's going to be it's a matter of wining the game. If we win there's a fairly decent chance we will be in to the last 16. Four points out of the group, if we can achieve that, would be terrific for us.

"The players know what they have to do and they're ready for it."

Ireland must defeat Italy to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, but the Boys In Green face a difficult task against a side that have already qualified for the last-16.

O'Neill has urged to players to draw inspiration from their shock 1-0 win over world champions Germany in October as they prepare for the game in Lille.

"We have got our own recent memories ourselves to inspire us, no more so than the night in October time when we beat the world champions," O'Neill said.

"When you say it like that there, it just seems to disappear into the ether, but we beat the world champions on a night when we had to win and that's extraordinary, an extraordinary result.

"They weren't a normal side, they were the team that just 18 months earlier or whatever it was had gone to Brazil and won the World Cup, so that was a great moment for us.

"That was inspirational enough for us to go and beat Bosnia over the two games in the play-off match. I think that's where we drew the inspiration from.

"We don't have to go back to '94, we can just draw on that because it's the set of players that did it and it's that set of players that gave us the opportunity to come here.

"As much as we have enjoyed the days that we have been here, we'd like to stay a little bit longer, so that inspiration will come from that evening against Germany and the night against Bosnia."

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