Thursday 12 December 2019

Euro 2012 Diary

Fans get FAI 'lift'

FANS travelling to Slovakia for next Tuesday's second part of this double header have endured a frustrating preparation, with confusion over the identity of the host city and issues surrounding the size of the allocation for travelling fans.

However, there was better news yesterday when the FAI confirmed that they would be footing the bill for a complimentary train for supporters between Bratislava and Zilina.

The match was originally expected to take place in the former, Slovakia's capital, but the local FA switched to Zilina although -- in fairness -- they did so within the agreed time limit.

Still, the gesture from the FAI will make life considerably easier for those who booked flights in and out of Bratislava.

Hopefully, there's no such confusion when it comes to next year's trip to Russia, a country where a train journey between major cities can be measured in days rather than a couple of hours.

Murphy makes cameo

GIOVANNI Trapattoni is always open about his intentions when it comes to his starting XI, keen to maximise his limited time with his players by setting out his chosen team in the training sessions leading up a match.

It gets a bit complicated, however, when a member of that selection is sitting a session out, as was the case with Richard Dunne yesterday. Deputising for Dunne was none other than third goalkeeper Joe Murphy who, it must be said, managed to acquit himself reasonably well in the part of the warm-up match that was watched by the media.

As it happened, Trapattoni took Sean St Ledger out of the 'firsts' and placed him in the other side, while Aiden McGeady floated between teams so there were a few slight deviations from the norm.

Nevertheless, you can be sure that Murphy joins the rest of us in hoping that Dunne is back to full health today.

Walters call on cards

ONE of the problem areas in the Ireland squad is the lack of striking cover for Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle, and next month's friendly with Norway should give Stoke new boy Jonathan Walters a chance to audition for the role.

Marco Tardelli was at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday to watch Walters -- a recent purchase from Ipswich -- score the only goal in their Premier League win over Blackburn. Capped at U-21 level and 'B' level, Liverpool-born Walters is likely to make a positive impression on Trapattoni given his no-nonsense approach to the game.

Tardelli hinted that the 27-year-old can expect a call-up.

Number of the day

1 The amount of medals that Dick Advocaat won as a player -- a Dutch Cup medal with Den Haag. Luckily for Russia, their head coach has enjoyed far more success as a manager.

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