Thursday 21 November 2019

Tardelli targets surprise win over Germany

Damian Spellman

MARCO Tardelli insists Ireland will set out determined to beat Germany to boost their hopes of World Cup qualification.

Giovanni Trapattoni's injury-hit side could well be forgiven for heading into Friday night's showdown at the Aviva Stadium intent only on making life difficult for Joachim Low's side and emerging unbeaten with a valuable Group C point.

However, despite the difficulties the Republic face as they prepare to take on the team currently in second place in FIFA's world rankings, assistant manager Tardelli is adamant they will adopt the same approach they always do.

Asked if he would be happy with a point, the Italian said: "We will try to win, it's normal for us. If we can win against Germany, it will be important for the team and for the country.

"But a draw? I don't know. It is better to wait.

"The Germans are a strong team, they are very quick and they play very well with their wingers because they cut in with their strikers.

"We know that Germany is a very good team and we have many problems, but we need to believe it's possible to play against all teams."

Low has been hit by the withdrawals of Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Lars Bender from the squad he initially named with Julian Draxler unavailable for selection because of a broken arm.

However, Trapattoni's problems are even more severe with Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Glenn Whelan, James McClean and Kevin Doyle out and Shay Given and Damien Duff having announced their retirements from international football.

The 73-year-old Italian has little choice but to reshuffle his personnel, but Tardelli also confirmed what the manager had previously hinted at, that he will field a three-man midfield against the Germans, something he was likely to have done even if stalwart Whelan had been fit.

Asked how they plan to combat the threat of the free-roving Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil, he said: "We put three midfielders on the pitch and one midfielder is for Ozil.

"We need to change something against Germany because the Germans are a very strong team and play 4-3-3. Maybe it's possible to play 4-3-3."

Keith Andrews seems certain to return from the suspension which kept him out of the 2-1 win in Kazakhstan last month and Wigan's James McCarthy is one of the men Trapattoni has touted as part of a new generation of players in the wake of the disappointment at the Euro 2012 finals.

That would appear to leave Keith Fahey and David Meyler competing for the remaining berth, although Tardelli was giving little away today.

He said: "I don't know, we need to wait. We have two days to decide and during training, we will take the decision.

"Fahey has good experience and for Meyler, it is very early because it's a very tough match and we need experienced players."

Trapattoni has decisions to make at the back too where John O'Shea is likely to partner Darren O'Dea in central defence and leave the right-back spot up for grabs.

Stephen Kelly, Paul McShane and Seamus Coleman all have claims on a place in the starting line-up, but it was the Fulham man who lined up there in training this morning, although that is not necessarily an indication that he will get the nod.

Tardelli said: "We have many options and we will decide in training. The boss has a choice of Kelly or Coleman or McShane who will play."

There was no sign of first-choice goalkeeper Keiren Westwood at Gannon Park this morning with Tardelli confirming he was training in the gym, but does not have a significant problem.

Westwood is not currently in the team at Sunderland, but the former Italy defender is confident that is not an issue.

He said with a smile: "Many players don't play in the Premier League, it's a big problem for us. I started to work here in 2008 and it's the same problem always.

"Westwood, when he has played with the national team, has always played very well . Maybe it is better to stay on the bench at his club and to play for us."

The Left Wing: Champions Cup returns, Jacob Stockdale's development, and Simon Zebo goes back to Munster

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport