Sunday 18 March 2018

Euro 2012: Trap giving nothing away in gamble to beat massive odds

Giovanni Trapattoni speaks to the press on Wednesday. Photo: Sportsfile
Giovanni Trapattoni speaks to the press on Wednesday. Photo: Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell in Gdansk

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI is keeping his cards close to his chest by refusing to name the team that he believes can achieve mission impossible against Spain tonight.

Ireland will become the first side to be eliminated from Euro 2012 if they lose to the world champions at the PGE Arena. And, while the odds are stacked against Trapattoni's charges, the Italian feels that anything is possible if his team have a little bit of good fortune.

But, for the first time during his four years in charge, Trapattoni declined the opportunity to reveal his starting XI.

Before last November's play-off tie in Tallinn, he left one position open, but yesterday, he left the entire make-up of his side open to interpretation as he doesn't want opposite number Vicente del Bosque to know his plans.

He is likely to make just one change -- replacing Kevin Doyle with Jonathan Walters to provide extra support in the midfield department -- meaning that skipper Robbie Keane would effectively operate as a lone striker.

Del Bosque also decided against confirming his plans. He started with no strikers in their draw with Italy on Sunday and, in Spanish circles, a recall for either Fernando Torres (right) or Fernando Llorente is anticipated.

Trapattoni is preparing for that eventuality but, whatever the opposition, he feels that his team can produce a result that would shock Europe.

"With strength, with attitude, and some luck, I think we can win," said the 73-year-old.

"Why not?"

Keane, who attributed a poor display in Ireland's defeat to Croatia to a lack of goalscoring opportunities, sang from the same hymn sheet.

"As a player and a captain, I never go into a game believing that I'm going to get beaten by anybody, whether they're superior or not," declared the 31-year-old.

"We have to believe as a group of players that we have a chance.

"There's nobody in that dressing-room who would go into a game believing there's no question of winning."

Irish Independent

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