Sport Soccer

Saturday 14 December 2019

Trapattoni eyes Capello pitch battle

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

OLD pals Giovanni Trapattoni and Fabio Capello have discussed the possibility of a friendly meeting between Ireland and England, which would be the first meeting between the nations since the ill-fated Lansdowne Road clash of 1995 which was abandoned due to crowd disturbances.

Capello dropped into the Irish team hotel on Monday to say hello to Trapattoni, with the latter quipping that the English boss is afraid of arranging a match.

The reality, however, is that England's extensive enough friendly commitments makes it difficult to arrange such a fixture. While the next available window would be in November of this year, Trapattoni conceded that bigger nations, such as England, are often tied to other arrangements going back over a period of time.

"I spoke with him, and I look for him. We wish to play them," said Trapattoni, "But England have many agreements. I spoke with him about it many times, but they are afraid about us," he added with a smile.

"Last time I spoke with Capello, I said when do we play but we're already engaged otherwise."

Given his presence in London this week, Trapattoni has repeatedly been asked about his fellow countryman's chances of success in South Africa.

He certainly believes that the English team are likely candidates but considers their greatest strength to be their mentality. On the flip side, he reckons that they lack technical ability compared to the Brazilian side.

"Brazil has the quality, Germany and England have a strong mentality. You have the Nordic teams like this, who do not have this quality but they are strong. They cannot play like others, the Latin school. They (England) have a confirmed mentality, whereas Brazil play for enjoyment, you look at the kids in school and it's different philosophy. Argentina is the same, although the character is a little bit different.

"For any team to get to the final, it depends on nerves. Who thought Greece could win the European Championship in 2004? Or Denmark, who came back from a holiday in 1992. If you have mental strength after the group stages, than you can get far. But you need a little bit of luck as well."

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