Sunday 17 December 2017

Euro 2012: Trap set to thwart Spanish call for extra watering

11 June 2012; Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012, Group C, game against Spain on Thursday. Republic of Ireland EURO2012 Squad Training, Municipal Stadium Gdynia, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
11 June 2012; Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012, Group C, game against Spain on Thursday. Republic of Ireland EURO2012 Squad Training, Municipal Stadium Gdynia, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

David Kelly IN GDANSK

Spain have continued their pitch battle ahead of tomorrow's crucial Group C tie against Ireland after midfielder Sergio Busquets reiterated the reigning champions' criticism of the Gdansk Arena.

And under-pressure Giovanni Trapattoni, still reeling from Monday's dismal defeat to Croatia, may decide not to allow the option of extra watering during the game if it is possible that the jumpy Spaniards are the slightest bit off their game.

Italy asked UEFA not to water the sluggish surface before Monday's 1-1 draw, after which many Spanish players complained that the pitch had been much too slow for their silky passing game.

Polish FA chief Grzegorz Lato dismissed Spain's complaints earlier this week and UEFA said there had been a clear intention to water the grass as much as possible, but only up to the point where it could cause damage.

"The same procedure is used for all matches in the tournament with a view to find a balance between protecting the pitch and meeting demands of the participating teams," UEFA stated.

The FAI last night confirmed that "UEFA regulations ensure that the pitch is watered up to 75 minutes before the kick-off and there is the option to do more at half-time."

However, given the obvious clash of styles between the sides -- and with Ireland desperate to get a result against the world's best passing team -- Trapattoni may refuse the possibility of extra watering at the interval.

"I didn't know there was anyone unhappy with it," said Kevin Doyle. "I don't know what the pitch in Gdansk is like. But if they plough it up, it might help us."

Busquets was yesterday still fuming at the state of the pitch as the Spanish champions continue to get an unlikely set of the jitters.

"Obviously, with a dry pitch it's harder to control the ball," he said, after bristling angrily when asked if the pitch had been an easy excuse for an at times below-par display.

"It makes passing more difficult and Spain's game is based on passing. It is up to UEFA and we hope the pitch will be better. It should be watered later to avoid injuries. We hope for a better pitch in the next match.

"All the teams are playing on the same pitch, but some teams, due to their different style of play, suffer more from a dry pitch than others."

Ireland manager Trapattoni, who is willing to grasp at anything as his team cling to life in Group C, will have noted these latest Spanish complaints with obvious relish.

Irish Independent

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