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Trap's Army will need rub of Green

After benefiting from the most favourable possible draw in the play-offs, Lady Luck deserted the Boys in Green yesterday when we were drawn in a tough group with Italy, Spain and Croatia for the finals of next summer's European championships.

Yesterday's draw will make it difficult, but by no means impossible, for Trap's men to secure the second place which they will need to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

The upside is that all of our games will be played in Poland rather than in neighbouring Ukraine, where the visitor facilities are somewhat more utilitarian.

However, we shouldn't despair.

Not alone have we qualified for the finals of the European championships for the first time in 24 years, the difficult draw will force manager Giovanni Trapattoni out of his comfort zone.

While an "easy" draw would have encouraged him to stick with the existing panel of players, the need to secure a result against either Spain, the current World and European champions, or Italy, if we are to have hope of progressing, will force him to be more adventurous.

As a result we are likely to see more new faces introduced into the squad between now and next June than would otherwise have been the case.