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Ireland ready for penalties but at least three players banned as they 'haven't hit the target too often'

Sunday’s Euro 2016 knockout tie with France could potentially go to a shootout and Martin O’Neill has been discussing such a situation.

Robbie Keane, David Meyler, John O'Shea and Shane Long train at Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
Robbie Keane, David Meyler, John O'Shea and Shane Long train at Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
Image: Claude Paris

Ben Blake reports from Lyon 

IRELAND HAVE BEEN preparing for every possible outcome in tomorrow’s Euro 2016 last-16 tie with France — including a potential penalty shootout.

Having qualified for the first round of the knockout stages, the Boys in Green take on the host nation in Lyon tomorrow afternoon (2pm Irish time), when they will aim to cause a major upset.

If they can hold Didier Deschamps’ side to a draw after 120 minutes, spot-kicks will be needed to separate the teams and manager Martin O’Neill has revealed that they take them regularly.

“We have been practising,” said O’Neill. ”We have done quite a number of times from a way back when we started, even in the training before we arrived here.

“So if we go get to penalties, there are at least three players I know who won’t take them as they haven’t been able to hit the target too often,” he joked.

“I shall not name them, but if they don’t come into the first 11, you will have a fair idea yourselves.”

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Soccer Euro 2016 Ireland Jon Walters taking part today with Robbie Brady and Aiden McGeady. Source: Claude Paris

As O’Neill explains, finding the back of the net from 12 yards on the training ground and repeating it in front of 59,000 fans is a very different experience, however.

He added: “We have practised the penalties pretty consistently, but in all honesty, replicating that on the training ground where all players want to take the penalties – all of them, including the goalkeepers – everybody wants to take a penalty.

“I wonder what it will be like if we do get to a shoot-out? That might be slightly different.

I have seen great players in the past out on the field and when it has come to penalty shoot-outs in European Cup finals, they down tools and don’t take them.

“I think that it will depend on who is on the pitch at the time if it comes to that, but we have done as much as we possibly can in that aspect.”

Listen to The42′s Ben Blake on the 98FM Euro 2016 Daily podcast throughout the tournament 

After getting their tactics spot on against Italy, do Ireland stick or twist for France showdown?

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Ben Blake

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