Saturday 17 March 2018

Contract talk on hold as Trapattoni eyes Swede success

Giovanni Trapattoni faces a crucial week in his Ireland tenure
Giovanni Trapattoni faces a crucial week in his Ireland tenure
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has put talk of his future to one side as Ireland prepare for the crucial showdown with Sweden that will have a huge say in the battle for a play-off to make next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Ireland need a minimum of four points from tonight's Lansdowne Road encounter and Tuesday's trip to Austria, with skipper Robbie Keane admitting the double header with Ireland's rivals for second place are 'make or break' encounters.

Trapattoni's position was under threat after the drubbing at the hands of Germany last October, but he has regained control and the FAI are predicting a sell-out after a good response from supporters this week.

The Italian will be under scrutiny again if proceedings don't go to plan, but he is confident. "Our thoughts are only on the task at hand," he said. "With all that has gone before, we all believe we can achieve the right result."

Trapattoni has put his faith in James McClean (below), with the Wigan man preferred to Simon Cox, Robbie Brady and Anthony Pilkington on the left side of midfield. Richard Dunne makes his first Irish start since Euro 2012 and will be tasked with shackling Sweden's star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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