Party time: Ireland seal place at Euro 2012 finals
Published 16/11/2011 | 05:00
GIOVANNI Trapattoni hailed the spirit of his players after Ireland officially secured qualification for Euro 2012.
The veteran boss declared his intention to climb Croagh Patrick after steering his team to next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine. "I've spoken with St Patrick," he joked.
And Ireland's manager wants his team to take inspiration from the achievement of Greece, who went all the way in Euro 2004. "It's not a dream," he said. "Why not? We need 100pc commitment.
"I am proud," added Trapattoni. "I understand this is a dream for all the Irish people. I congratulated the players afterwards. We still need to improve, but we have time."
Trapattoni hopes to sit down and discuss his long-term future with the FAI after achieving the mission of ending the country's major tournament drought.
The 72-year-old is keen to stay on for another two years. "I think we will speak with the FAI for our future," said Trapattoni. "We have the opportunity to continue. Obviously, we are all happy. We deserved this after Paris."
FAI chief executive John Delaney said that it was a matter for another day, but the association will have to move quickly to keep Trapattoni happy.
Qualification has delivered a badly needed €8m boost to the Abbotstown coffers.
Ireland's failure to win on the night was only a minor irritation. Stephen Ward's first-half strike put Trapattoni's men in a strong position, but Estonia levelled after the break courtesy of Konstantin Vassiljev.
Captain Robbie Keane, whose two goals in the first leg helped to put the tie beyond the Estonians, said that it was a special moment to seal qualification in Dublin.
"Look at the crowd here -- I think that says it all," he beamed as the fans cheered the team to the echo. "It's a great night for everyone -- the fans, the players -- it's a night that we'll never forget."