Sunday 25 June 2017

Slovaks serve warning to Trap

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

SLOVAKIA served a Euro 2012 warning to Ireland with a stirring display to send holders Italy packing from South Africa, with coach Vladimir Weiss vowing that his side will be an even stronger proposition after their World Cup experience.

The Slovaks came out on top of a five-goal thriller with the Azzurri at Ellis Park, consigning the four-times champions to bottom spot and an ignominious exit. They progress to face the Netherlands in the round of 16.

Giovanni Trapattoni will come face to face with Weiss this October when the European Championship campaign hots up.

The Slovaks, along with top seeds Russia, are the main obstacles Ireland will face in the battle to end their prolonged absence from major tournament fare.

They fully deserved their victory over the lacklustre Italians and Weiss stressed that, whatever happens in the second round against the Dutch, his side will benefit from their first major finals experience -- six of their triumphant starting XI are aged 25 or under.

"We are young and we are improving," he stressed.

"This is very important for now and also for the future. I think it's very important for us to believe in ourselves and to show that we can play against these teams."

Lippi accepted full responsibility for his side's shortcomings and believes he has lost the ability to motivate them.

"If a team shows up at such an important game with terror in their heads, their hearts and their legs, it means that the coach didn't train that team as he should have done, psychologically, technically or tactically," he said.

Irish Independent

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