All change for Trapattoni ahead of Germany clash
Loss of key veterans sees new brigade given chance against mighty Germans
GIOVANNI Trapattoni is praying for a miracle as his second-string selection prepare to take on the second best team in the world at Lansdowne Road this evening.
The Ireland boss fields a side with seven changes from his preferred Euro 2012 line-up, with captain Robbie Keane ruled out yesterday morning due to an Achilles problem that he aggravated on Tuesday.
With Trapattoni switching to a 4-3-3 formation to counter the threat presented by Germany, James McCarthy starting a Dublin qualifier for the first time and Seamus Coleman making his competitive debut, it's potentially a window to the future.
But Trapattoni warned that he will quickly revert to his old strategy if Joachim Loew's side fly out of the blocks.
Jonathan Walters has benefited from Keane's woe. He will function as the central striker, flanked by Simon Cox and Aiden McGeady, with Shane Long confined to the bench.
Coleman is selected at right-full ahead of Stephen Kelly, with McCarthy joining Keith Andrews and Keith Fahey in a midfield three tasked with the dual function of improving ball retention and curbing the influence of Mezut Ozil.
John O'Shea takes the captain's armband and says that it's time for the fringe players to demonstrate why there has been such a clamour for their inclusion.
"Only four players from our original Euros team will be starting," he said, referring to himself, Stephen Ward, Andrews and McGeady.
"But the players that are in now... some people have been calling for them to be given a chance so now they have a massive opportunity and what a way to do it -- against Germany.
"All of them have impressed in training and for their clubs, so they are being picked on merit.
"There are some familiar faces missing but the new blood has to get a chance."