Result may not be enough to save Trap
Faroe Islands 1 Republic of Ireland 4:Giovanni Trapattoni did not have the air of a man who expects to lose his job after tonight’s emphatic win over the Faroe Islands, but there remains the lingering suspicion that the Italian’s reign as Ireland manager could be at an end.
Trapattoni, who has cancelled a press briefing in Dublin tomorrow morning, preferring instead to travel home to Italy, was in ebullient form as he heaped praise on the likes of James McCarthy, Marc Wilson and Seamus Coleman. However, when the questions turned towards his future, the 73-year-old first claimed he was unaware of any speculation.
And the interview with RTE television ended abruptly when Trapattoni was asked what he would do if told the FAI no longer retained faith in his ability to continue in the role. “For me, it is no problem,” he responded, without clarifying if he would be prepared to work with an association that didn’t want his services.
Ireland started in positive fashion and determined to make amends for their German nightmare, and central defender Darren O’Dea glanced a header well wide from Brady’s first-minute corner. However, the home side, buoyed by their near-miss against the Swedes, soon found a way into the game and right-back Seamus Coleman had to dispossess wide-man Simun Samuelsen twice within the opening five minutes as he surged forward.
But Ireland looked to have the greater goal-threat, and they went close for the first time with seven minutes played when Keane laid the ball off for strike-partner Jon Walters, who fed it out for 20-year-old Brady to cut inside and curl a left-footed shot just wide.
Trapattoni’s men were dominating and it took a far-post block by Samuelsen to keep out Aiden McGeady’s close-range header after James McCarthy had played Walters into space down the left. However, they should have been ahead from the resulting corner when Brady played the ball short to McGeady and he crossed for Keith Andrews to get ahead of central defender Rogvi Baldvinsson, but head wide with the goal at his mercy.
Ireland keeper Keiren Westwood was sent back-pedalling anxiously across his line to palm away Daniel Udsen’s 18th-minute cross as it threatened to creep under his crossbar. But it was his side who went close again four minutes later when Walters profited from good play by McGeady down the left to head powerfully towards, but just over, keeper Gunnar Nielsen’s goal.
The longer the half wore on with their clean sheet intact, the more the Faroes grew in confidence, and with optimism increasing among the home fans Ireland were held at bay. But Nielsen was called upon for the first time with 28 minutes gone when, after Andrews had flicked on Keane’s cross, Walters forced him into an important save.
McGeady incurred Trapattoni’s wrath on the sideline after carelessly giving the ball away twice in quick succession as the game reached the half-hour mark. The Faroes were certainly making a game of it and the visitors were forced to deal with two corners in quick succession after full-back Pol Justinussen’s long-range effort was deflected wide.