Trapattoni hopes to prove a point against Germans
DESPITE SUGGESTIONS Joachim Loew should have gone after a disappointing European Championships, a supposedly indifferent start by his side to the World Cup campaign and the fact he will be without key players next time out, Giovanni Trapattoni admits the German manager and his players will arrive in Dublin in a couple of weeks confident of taking all three points.
Certainly they will be undaunted by a Republic of Ireland squad announcement yesterday that was almost entirely along expected lines; the one exception being the acknowledgement that Richard Dunne has almost no chance of featuring.
Trapattoni can empathise with his opposite number on all the above counts just now. There are plenty of critics who reckon he should move on, the team narrowly averted humiliation in Kazakhstan and Dunne joins a couple of prominent retirees in being unavailable for next month’s outings. But the Italian will find it somewhat more difficult to generate any great sense of expectation amongst his players as they head into what looks like being their first major test of the qualifying tournament.
“The attitude of the Germans is arrogant . . . well, not arrogant but they know their strengths,” said the manager at yesterday’s squad announcement for both that game and the one in the Faroe Islands four days later.
If they set much store by tapes of Ireland’s games in Poland, there might be a fair bit of that going on in the visitors’ dressingroom before the game but ultimately, Trapattoni insists, the Germans will have “respect” for the Irish based on their spirit and attitude.
Still, it is pretty clear the home side will be underdogs, anxiously looking to re-establish a shattered reputation for resilience in their bigger games and grateful deep down, one suspects, for anything they can add to their points tally before the trip to Torshavn.
Aside from Dunne, Trapattoni has also placed young Robbie Brady on standby, insisting there was no point in including him in the squad at this stage when there are more experienced players who are far more likely to feature in the actual games. Keith Fahey and Keith Andrews return to the squad while Andy Keogh and Paul McShane are retained as Stephen Hunt and the injured Darron Gibson are again omitted.
When Gibson is fit and playing again, the Italian suggested, he will ask him again if he is still disappointed: what a conversation that would be to listen in on. The rest, he said again, must be sure to “leave their disappointment behind” as they head into such a big game.
Damien Duff got a mention but no more really with Trapattoni saying that after his goal at the weekend, he sent the Dubliner a text reminding him that he can still change his mind and return to the international fold. The manager made it clear there had been a humorous tone to the message. Duff did not reply.