Trap's young guns face German front
There seemed a decent case to be made for starting with the Tipperary man up front and Walters out wide but the Italian wasn’t for ditching Simon Cox who, he suggested, might yet end up playing as a more orthodox second striker, depending on how the early exchanges pan out.
Séamus Coleman’s inclusion ahead of Stephen Kelly is interesting for it suggests that the Irish will, at least to some extent, aim to employ attack out wide as an additional form of defence.
The Greeks tried that at the European Championships and though they scored two they conceded twice as many.
In the next round, the Italians smothered the passing game so effectively employed up until then by Löw’s men and dominated them in the centre.
Trapattoni spoke again yesterday of the need to deprive the visitors of both time and space in the centre and clearly a lot will depend of the extent to which his midfield three, if that is what it really proves to be, rises to the challenge.
If they are overrun then it is bound to be a long and difficult evening with everyone behind them likely to struggle against a side whose speed and movement can be superb.
Stephen Ward’s ability to cope, most likely with Thomas Mueller, will be a big factor and if the home side ends up being besieged around its own area then it is simply hard to see this defence holding out in the way the one built round Dunne and Given did in Moscow.
If, on the other hand, the Irish can impose themselves in midfield, retain possession more effectively than usual and keep the likes of Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger on the back foot for decent spells then it might be an altogether more uplifting experience for the home crowd.
The Germans come to town with six points bagged from two group games, but far from everyone at home are convinced that they’re hitting anything like the heights that ought to be expected.
Their performance in Vienna, where they won 2-1 but might well have lost, has been the subject of much criticism, mainly for the way they defended and if Walters does not become isolated then there should be chances for the Irish to test Manuel Neuer.
There is talk, too, of a split between the players from Bayern Munich and those from Borussia Dortmund while Löw has been criticised for not demanding more of the group overall, and former greats have suggested dismissively that the current squad spends too much time playing table tennis and not enough getting things right on the training pitch.
What Trapattoni would surely give for his opposite number’s problems. But what a comeback it would be for the 73-year-old after such a disappointing summer if he can engineer the type of result that would add to them.
AVIVA TEAMS: How they will line out
REP OF IRELAND(4-5-1): Westwood; Coleman, O'Shea, O'Dea, Ward; Andrews, McCarthy, Fahey, Cox, McGeady; Walters
GERMANY(probable, 4-2-3-1) Neuer; Schmelzer, Badstuber, Mertesacker, Boateng; Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Podolski, Ozil, Mueller; Klose
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli(Italy)