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GIOVANNI Trapattoni knows a good draw when he sees one. Euro 2012 Group B may well be a commercial nightmare for the FAI but, purely in terms of qualification, it's as good as it gets.

FAI CEO John Delaney believes that the potential returns from the group in terms of television rights will be "poor" and that Russia don't even come close to France or Italy in terms of earnings potential.

No matter what way you add up this group, logistics will be fiendishly difficult and the profile of the countries involved make it highly unlikely that the FAI will benefit from a surge in interest in premium and corporate tickets. In other words, nobody is expecting a revenue stream which would put a dent in the big debt incurred by the Aviva Stadium project.

"I wouldn't worry about that -- from our perspective it's about qualifying. We've invested in a top manager who has done very well for us to date and we're building momentum now towards the qualifiers. That's a group we can qualify from.

You make money if you qualify," said Delaney.


Making it to the finals in Poland and the Ukraine is indeed the name of the game and, after two years watching Trapattoni work, there is every reason to face the next few years with high expectations.

Russian manager Guus Hiddink summed it up nicely when he was asked about the prospect of matching wits with Trapattoni and said: "Trapattoni? He's a crafty old fox."

"We have seen Ireland recently playing in Paris and before that, so they are very competitive, very competitive. I don't know exactly all of the squad individually at this moment but we will have our information sorted in plenty of time."

Of course, not many people feel that Hiddink will still be in charge of the Russian national team by the time the qualification series gets under way in the autumn but, if he is, Trapattoni will have more than enough motivation to want to win against a manager he crossed swords with in Korea in 2002 and lost.

"Football is football, like with South Korea and like with France. In our group, this time, two teams are hard: Russia and Slovakia, because they are strong teams. But we have showed in the past that we can play against every team -- like Italy and France. Ireland have shown that we can play against all the famous teams," said Trapattoni.

Trapattoni's presence at the draw attracted more attention than most at the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, and questions about his future plans were at the top of the agenda.

Trapattoni has been noticeably open in his response to queries concerning continuing speculation about Turkey, Juventus and now Nigeria, and he was equally forthright after the draw.

"Not only one but four or five clubs and also national teams have been in touch. They ask me but I said I have a contract with Ireland. They know that I have an agreement with Ireland until the end of the European Championship."

"That is what I answered at the moment because also I have Juventus in my heart. But I said to them 'no' because I am with Ireland and I cannot divide myself between Ireland and Juventus.

"There is speculation but there is also interest because I cannot refute your question. Juventus or Turkey or Nigeria or South Africa. Sweden, too, but that was an agent."

"Juventus asked me was it possible -- I said 'no'. It is impossible because today there is a job, a serious job, important jobs, 101pc jobs."

That is about as close as anyone will get from Trapattoni to an absolute commitment and, for now, to use his own phrase, he is ready to begin the work he will need to do to move forward from the disappointment of Paris.


"If we play with the same mentality and the same belief, that is important. It is important that we play like we did in the last few games, like in Bulgaria. Away games are always difficult and these are not easy countries, like Russia.

"But Montenegro was a hard game, a hard away game, for us, but it was not too difficult.

"I pass my day with three or four hours watching DVDs. I see many English games for our younger players for the future -- for the next 10 years. If you want to achieve in the future it is important that in the summer we can bring in players to a camp. Then we can look at other options."

Trapattoni will look for at least two friendlies between the Brazil game at the Emirates on March 2 and the end of May.

"We should be in a position to announce something in the next few weeks," said Delaney. "We'll wait and see, but I think it will be two games."