Trapattoni focuses on middle men
Denying the Germans space or options when they are on the ball will be vital to Ireland’s hopes of securing a result, he says.
Trapattoni put Italy’s comfortable victory over Germany at the European championships down to Cesare Prandelli’s side being so effective at curbing the German’s tremendous passing and movement when in possession.
“In Italy,” he said, “we have that quality in midfield. We have not the biggest or the strongest players there but they are quick and organised on the pitch. In England (the Premier League) they do not consider so much how to deny opponents space when they have the ball but we must do that in this game.”
He had, he said, sought to work on this aspect of Ireland’s game in yesterday morning’s training session but, he conceded, “we cannot change so much in two or three days”.
He has little option but to change quite a few things, however, and particularly at right back where he needs somebody capable of containing Lukas Podolski.
Going on previous selections Stephen Kelly is the most obvious choice, with Paul McShane another serious contender. Trapattoni did mention Marc Wilson in connection with the role before appearing to settle more favourably on Séamus Coleman because, it seemed, he might be better equipped to push forward too.
“Sometimes,” he said, “we need a defender to go like a winger. Wilson plays with geometry (stays in position well). Coleman goes. We will have to decide.”
Out wide, Cox and Walters would appear as yet to be neck and neck to start.
Joachim Loew has called Hamburg’s Heiko Westermann into his squad for the games against the Republic of Ireland and Sweden after Mats Hummels joined Lars Bender in withdrawing from the travelling party for Dublin due to injury.
Hummels was forced out with a hip injury and the manager, who was already without injured striker Mario Gomez and suspended defender Phillip Lahm for the game at the Aviva Stadium, has called up Westermann for the first time in almost two years.
Per Mertesacker is now expected to partner Holger Badstuber of Bayern Munich at the heart of the German defence while Bastian Schweinsteiger, who missed last month’s two wins due to an ankle injury will return to the team’s midfield.– EMMET MALONE