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.
Trapattoni moved on, enthusiastically pointing to the fact that Robbie Keane scored twice at the weekend in a 4-2 win for LA Galaxy; the unmentioned downside being that they beat Toronto for whom Darren O’Dea, almost certainly a starter against the Germans, was playing in defence.
Ireland’s visitors have a couple of problems of their own with Philipp Lahm and his Bayern Munich team-mate Mario Gomez unavailable due to suspension and injury respectively.
Loew is coming under pressure at home and anything less than wins here and at home to Sweden four days later would likely lead to renewed sniping from those who believe the country is overdue a major championship success.
As it is his boss Wolfgang Niersbach was obliged to publicly endorse Loew again this week.
To many it will seem strange that a coach who has produced such an exhilarating brand of football could find his position being questioned.
And it is probably not a good thing from Trapattoni’s perspective. The Italian, one suspects, could do with being the only manager involved in next month’s game with a point to prove.
REP OF IRELAND SQUAD: Kieren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall), Darren Randolph (Motherwell); Marc Wilson (Stoke), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O’Dea (Toronto), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Paul McShane (Hull); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Wigan), Keith Andrews (Bolton), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Andy Keogh (Millwall), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long (West Brom), Simon Cox (Nottingham For), Jon Walters (Stoke).
NOT A DUNNE DEAL: Villa man out
Richard Dunne has been named on standby for next month’s World Cup qualifiers but Giovanni Trapattoni believes that the defender requires “a miracle” in order to actually line out against Germany on October 12th.
The Italian said that he and the association’s medical staff continue to monitor the defender’s protracted recovery from a groin problem but admitted it would be impossible for the Dubliner to feature if he had not first played for Aston Villa which, he suggested, is now almost an impossibility.
“I don’t think he will make it,” he said, “although maybe there will be a miracle but it’s better to have the option (by naming him on standby).”