Argument for change gets lost in translation
Italy’s manager knows the value of flexibility and a Plan B but Giovanni Trapattoni remains unyielding in his beliefs, writes BRIAN KERR
REVERTING TO the usual Ireland XI, with Kevin Doyle’s return, suggests there will be no change to our inflexible system for the final game of this nightmare experience.
The attitude seemingly is thus: It got us this far, it failed, but so what? We’ve had a plan under Trap. Just the one. The players conformed or they were out. It has generally worked, up to the final warm-up game in Budapest, but it has often been skin of the teeth stuff.
There were plenty of warning signs against Macedonia, Armenia and Georgia.
Yes, I know as much as anyone how hard it is to get results on the international stage but it has been ever so dull to watch the Republic of Ireland in recent years.
We have lacked any flair or inventiveness and a lot of people in my big circle have been turned off by it. These are football people to their very core but they just couldn’t stomach the football we played.
Nobody is adopting an “I told you so” stance either. It hurts too much.
Nobody wants to be right about Ireland failing.
What surprised me most of all after seeing the pounding given to us by Russia (who, as an aside, were sussed on Saturday by Greece) in the qualifiers, and again during the Croatia and Spain meltdowns, was the complete lack of a Plan B. Nothing.
As a young coach I always admired the wisdom of experienced managers and how they could make a decision that altered what seemed the inevitable course of a game.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is a perfect example. Throughout their qualifying campaign the Azzurri played with a diamond shape of four in midfield.
It was narrow but allowed Pirlo to dictate from its base with support from De Rossi and Montolivo, while Prandelli mostly used Marchisio to assist the now injured Giuseppe Rossi and Antonio Cassano up front.
They ambled through their group finishing above Estonia on 26 points.
But then Prandelli, faced by the mighty Spaniards, changed his tactics.
It proved a masterstroke. He played De Rossi in the middle of what became a five-man back line with tough men Bonucci and Chiellini either side of him.
The match-fixing allegations denied them their regular left back Domenico Criscito, so he selected a debutant in Emanuele Giaccherini against Spain.. We talk about throwing lads in, Prandelli has done it. First cap, no friendly match, nothing. In you go. And the risk paid off.