Giovanni Trapattoni names Ireland side to face Croatia
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named an unchanged starting eleven for the opening Euro 2012 game with Croatia.
Shay Given has been passed fit after a full workout in Friday’s training session in Gdynia. As a result, the same team that started the friendly with Hungary in Budapest will take to the pitch in Poznan on Sunday at 19.45 Irish time.
Kevin Doyle will start up front alongside captain Robbie Keane despite strong performances from Shane Long and Jonathan Walters in Ireland’s warm-up friendlies.
At yesterday’s press conference, Trapattoni was asked was there less pressure on him this time as Ireland manager than when he managed Italy at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. “It’s true what you say,” Trapattoni said, “but just getting here is not enough. There isn’t a result that satisfies me as I am never happy unless I get the ultimate prize. In my life as player I was lucky to play against the most important opponents — stars like Pele, Eusebio, Cruyff. Direct confrontations, even though I was not superior to them. But that is football. If I don’t achieve what I think I can achieve, I am not happy.
“Maybe we don’t have a Messi, but we have very good quality and we must believe in that quality. We have good attitude and the right balance. To Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady this morning, I said congratulations, because I saw again their determination to win back the ball. We have to spend all our energy in Sunday’s game and then it will be my duty to see if I can rest players for 15 minutes because they will have to repeat this again after three days.
“I don’t think we could be better prepared. My worry one month ago was that we would lose a player. I prayed that we would have no injury. That is the reason I asked some players to come in four days early. I knew there was two or three little injury problem but they recovered well — John O’Shea, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger. I’ve no doubt now about Shay Given.
“I’m not particularly excited but I’m a little tense. I want to keep that level of tension. The manager needs to keep a positive tension. I think I’m like a 20 year old, but with more experience. If I was 15 years younger I would play in the game.”
Ireland team v Croatia:
Shay Given; John O’Shea, Richard Dunne Sean St. Ledger, Stephen Ward; Damien Duff, Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady; Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle.
Republic of Ireland v Croatia kick-off is at 7.45 pm Irish time, and can be seen live on RTÉ 2.