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Monday 18 December 2017

Trapattoni: I hope we don't draw England

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni at today's Euro 2012 draw
Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni at today's Euro 2012 draw

Daniel McDonnell, in Kiev

GIOVANNI Trapattoni wants to steer clear of Spain, Germany and England in this evening's Euro 2012 draw in Kiev.

The Italian has stressed his preferences going into the marquee event in the Ukrainian capital, although he warned that it will be difficult whatever happens because his side are fourth seeds.

However, Trapattoni has reiterated a desire to avoid world champions Spain from Pot 1 and both Germany and England from Pot 2.

He has also hinted that it would be dangerous to land host nations Poland or Ukraine, who are top seeds along with the Spanish and Holland. "I got burned by this in 2002," he said, with reference to his Italian side's controversial World Cup exit at the hands of South Korea.

Ultimately, though, he conceded that a date with the Polish or the Ukrainians would be kinder than a joust with the all-conquering Spain side, who are also defending European champions.

Many Irish fans would relish a showdown with Fabio Capello's (right) England, but Trapattoni is wary of such an occasion, believing that the highly charged atmosphere could impact on the focus and mentality of his well-drilled squad.

Nevertheless, he has urged his players to have belief in their prospects regardless of what way the balls come out of the drum in the Palace Ukraina.

"It's 90 minutes of football and we have trust," he said. "It's just three games of 90 minutes and, with our mentality, there is no reason to have fear."

Trapattoni, who put pen to paper on a new contract earlier this week, shied away from a question which asked if Ireland could mirror the achievements of shock Euro 2004 winners Greece.

"It's a dream at the moment," he smiled. "But in football, there is the moment when the wind takes you on the back and helps. It's not about the first three games, the team will be tired after the group."

The FAI will be hoping that Ireland are assigned to one of the two groups based in Poland.

They plan to base themselves there during the competition, and will fly in and out to the Ukraine if they end up in the larger country which offers inferior facilities and presents bigger logistical problems.

How the draw works

- The 16 teams will be divided into four groups, with two based in Poland, and two in Ukraine.

- Poland have already been assigned as top seeds in Group A, which will be hosted by Warsaw and Wroclaw.

- Ukraine have already been assigned as top seeds in Group D, which will be hosted by Donetsk and Kiev.

- Group B will be staged in the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv and Lviv, and Group C in the Polish cities of Gdansk and Poznan.

- The draw will start with the other two top seeds, Spain and Holland, being assigned to either Group B or Group C.

- Then, starting from Ireland's Pot 4, the other finalists will be assigned to their groups.

Irish Independent

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