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Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill: "We have to take the game to Austria"

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill admits that each and every one of his players must be on top of their game if they are to pick up three points against Austria.

Martin O'Neill has urged his Republic of Ireland players to seize the initiative by attacking Group D rivals Austria in their crunch clash at the Aviva Stadium.

The Boys in Green sit joint-top of the standings, locked level on 11 points with Serbia at the midway stage ahead of Sunday's visit of their fourth-placed opponents.

Ireland could temporarily move three clear should they see off Austria on home soil as they play a few hours before their direct rivals, but O'Neill has warned his charges that they cannot afford to drop their performance levels if they are to avoid slipping up.

"We just have to try to do our utmost. If we have done our utmost, then there is not much more I can ask," he told reporters. "I don't think that we've got the ability to carry players in the team. We have to really be at it all the time, and that's one of our strengths, I think. But if we drop off... we just can't afford to do that, let me put it that way.

"For us, we have really got to start strongly in the game. We're at home, we have to take the game to Austria and really be positive right from the start. Austria have the capability of causing us all sorts of problems and we have to be on the front foot if we can, but also aware of their dangerous players."

Ireland beat Austria 1-0 in the reverse fixture seven months ago, sealing the win through a James McClean strike in Vienna.

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Ireland's coach Martin O'Neill attends the Euro 2016 group E football match between Ireland and Sweden at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis on June 13, 2016. The match ended in a 1-1 draw
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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

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