Set pieces and Robbie Keane: How Ireland could make the most of Italy's "imperfections"

The Gentleman Ultra's Richard Hall chats to Team 33 about areas Ireland can target

Robbie Keane, Ireland, Italy, Euro 2016

Robbie Keane and the management ©INPHO/James Crombie

Finding a way to breach the Italy defence is the tactical minefield that Martin O'Neill is trying to work his way through at present.

But as Ireland prepare for a must-win match against the Euro 2016 Group E winners, are there any weaknesses that we can exploit in that seemingly impenetrable Italian rearguard?

Ahead of the game, The Gentleman Ultra founder Richard Hall joined us on Newstalk's Team 33 and he picked out one or two areas that may help Ireland towards the aim of the goals that we need.

"In the first [Italy] game against Belgium, I thought what was good about the defence for a start, was the way that they were almost playing four up front at one point and then three at the back. When the wing-backs came back in, they did fill in as a five. And even Buffon's goalkeeping style, if you noticed, he was very far out when they were defending as a back-three - almost like Neuer - and then as a five, he was operating in his six yard box and Italy are just so well-drilled and it works really well," said Richard of the Italians' strengths.

But what about those aforementioned weaknesses?

"But saying that, I think set-pieces. If you look at Belgium, there were a couple of chances in that game where they were completely unmarked and they should have scored. Even though the [Italian] system was working, they still aren't perfect and I think set-pieces are certainly something where they may struggle a little bit.

"I think Ireland will definitely get a chance and Robbie Keane, for instance, if he is playing and if he starts, I think he's going to be that sort of player that you're going to need because you may only get one or two clear-cut opportunities and [Keane] is the sort of guy who can stick those away."  

With Robbie Keane that will have to involve a front-two given Keane is not at his best as a lone striker.

The full interview with Richard is available on the Team 33 podcast player below and on iTunes.