Sport Soccer

Saturday 16 December 2017

Hiddink wary of 'crafty fox'

GUUS HIDDINK reckons that the presence of a "crafty old fox" like Giovanni Trapattoni in the dugout will make Ireland difficult opposition in the Euro 2012 qualifiers, writes Daniel McDonnell.

While it is unclear if Hiddink will be in charge of Russia come September, with interest from the UK and Italy and contract-wrangling with his own association, the Dutchman has spoken of his respect for Trapattoni and the Irish side after their display in the World Cup play-off with France in Paris.

"We have seen them recently playing in Paris and before so they are very competitive," he said.

Nevertheless, Hiddink says that the Russians, as top seeds, should be confident about topping the group, even though they missed out on qualification for the World Cup, losing a play-off to Slovenia.

"You must be confident of winning," he said, "The fact that Russia has improved its status in recent years and, as a consequence, are in Pot One, it means that everyone can consider them as favourites, but you can't ignore the fact that most recently we have failed to qualify.

"We did not qualify for the World Cup, so you cannot say that automatically you are the favourites so you can lie back."

Irish Independent

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