Trap will have final call but Gdansk likely to be Ireland's base for finals
Published 05/12/2011 | 05:00
GIOVANNI Trapattoni will make the final call on Ireland's base camp for Euro 2012 this week, with a base in Gdynia, just outside Gdansk, the favourite after Sweden confirmed they are relocating to Ukraine.
An FAI team had inspected the facilities at the venue on a whistle-stop tour of the region and were impressed with what they saw.
Alas, Sweden had beaten them to the punch and had first option. However, when Friday's draw decreed that Erik Hamren's men would play all three matches in Ukraine, the Swedish FA decided to move across the border.
They have yet to officially tell UEFA, but the FAI have been notified of the Swedes' intention and believe the venue is now available to them. The FAI have another centre outside Wroclaw identified as an alternative, which would have been ideal if Ireland had been assigned to Group A -- where the city in question is a host along with Warsaw.
Gdynia is now more convenient as it's just outside Gdansk, where Ireland will lock horns with Spain in their second group game on June 14. It's also a convenient distance from Poznan where the clashes with Croatia and Italy are scheduled for June 10 and June 18.
Another plus for Gdynia is that the training pitch is understood to be of an extremely high quality compared to the alternatives, a priority for the FAI given how the poor standard of the Saipan surface proved such a big problem before the World Cup in 2002.
Trapattoni has yet to check out the options first hand, though, and he will have the deciding vote. He will travel to Poland on Wednesday and spend three days with his assistant Marco Tardelli inspecting facilities in Gdynia and Wroclaw.
The Irish boss is also due to have a look at an option in Florence for a pre-tournament training camp. He wants to bring his players to a warm-weather environment before going to Poland. Italian boss Cesare Prandelli had suggested that Trapattoni had said he wouldn't go to Italy after the two countries ended up in the same group. Yet it's believed that the 72-year-old is still considering that option, with Portugal an alternative.
Meanwhile, the sight of Shay Given being carried off at the weekend was a worry for all Ireland fans, although the finals are six months away. The Donegal man suffered a hamstring injury in Aston Villa's drab 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Villa Park, and there were initial concerns it was a serious setback.
However, the club have suggested it is only a minor problem that will sideline him for a few weeks. "I think Shay had a little tweak in his hamstring," said Alex McLeish, "Hopefully it's only a grade one that will heal really quickly."