Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Republic still in contention, says Trapattoni

DUBLIN, IRELAND - OCTOBER 12: Mesut Oezil of Germany celebrates with Miroslav Klose after scoring his teams third goal during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier group C match between Republic of Ireland and Germany at Aviva Stadium on October 12, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Giovanni Trapattoni insisted he will not be fighting to save his job in the Faroe Islands on Tuesday night after seeing the Republic Ireland mauled by Germany.

The 73-year-old could only look on as the side ranked second in the world by FIFA trounced his makeshift team 6-1 at the Aviva Stadium and condemned them to their heaviest defeat on home soil.

However, asked if Tuesday's World Cup qualifying Group C encounter in Torshavn could be vital to his continued presence at the helm, he replied: "No.

"It's a long way to Tipperary. Germany have gone, but we are in there fighting with Austria and Sweden for qualification. Why not?

"The players have to answer us and I am sure they can. We need to see their commitment in a very important situation here.

"I am proud of those players because their commitment is full, 100 per cent. I don't accept players without this commitment."

Trapattoni was defiant too when, after a week during which his future has been a topic of speculation, he was asked why he wanted to remain as Ireland manager.

He said: "Because I am proud of this team and the results it has achieved.

"It's not about money - it's about pride and being professional in my job. I was in four countries and I won in every country."

A defeat by Group C favourites Germany was perhaps not unexpected, but the manner of it cruelly exposed the deficiencies within a squad torn apart by retirements and injuries.

The Republic held out for 32 minutes, but then capitulated horribly as they fell apart in the face of a determined assault.

Marco Reus started the ball rolling when, two minutes after being booked for diving, he fired home the opener off the underside of the crossbar after seeing Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marcel Schmelzer carved open the Ireland defence.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder doubled his tally five minutes before the break when Jerome Boateng's crossfield pass once again found the Irish wanting and he drilled a shot across keeper Keiren Westwood and into the bottom corner.

Shell-shocked Ireland rallied all too briefly after the break, but fell further behind within 10 minutes of the restart when, after Darren O'Dea had felled Miroslav Klose inside the box, Mesut Ozil converted the resulting penalty.

Klose helped himself to a fourth within three minutes after rounding Westwood from Schweinsteiger's pass and there was more than enough time for substitute Toni Kroos to help himself to a double as time ran down with fellow replacement Andy Keogh's stoppage-time header counting for little.

Trapattoni said: "It's difficult to explain. This evening, we were inferior against a strong team physically and technically, and we have no excuses."

Opposite number Joachim Low was understandably delighted by a victory which extended his side's 100 per cent start to the qualifying campaign.

He said: "We have seen a very concentrated performance by our team. Right from the word 'go', it was palpable that there was a German presence on that pitch.

"We had good organisation. We had been preparing ourselves for the long ball game that Ireland were going to be playing and we found the right balance between tempo on the one hand and regaining possession, and we were very comfortable on the ball.

"The result is okay, even if 6-1 sounds a bit high. We created many goalscoring opportunities and we converted the chances that we had.

"We are very glad. Germany hadn't won away in Ireland for a long time."

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