Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Trappattoni left to rue Republic display

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni admitted his side had been handed a "severe lesson" after they were humbled 3-0 by Australia in Limerick tonight.

Tim Cahill struck twice in seven first-half minutes to virtually settle the contest, before David Carney added further gloss to an impressive Socceroos display with a 30-yard screamer in stoppage time.

The Republic were, however, not without their chances, most notably skipper Robbie Keane who was twice denied by a scrambling defence, but the hosts lacked a cutting edge to break down the visitors.

Trapattoni admitted that was a worrying trait less than a month from their key World Cup qualifier in Cyprus on September 5, but believes his side will put tonight's result behind them.

"It was a severe lesson for us, I am a little bit disappointed with the team," the 70-year-old Italian said.

"But I know this is not a normal this result, this situation can happen."

Referring to the block by Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to deny Keane in the first half he added: "In the first half Australia deserve to be winning, but also we had a great occasion with Robbie Keane.

"Maybe if we score this goal it could change the game or the result.

"But I think Australia is better than us and deserved this result."

The Republic sit second in their World Cup qualifying group, a point behind Italy having played a game more, to give them a real opportunity of qualifying for the finals.

And while Trapattoni admitted his side were not as good as the Socceroos, who have already booked their place in South Africa, he was enthused by his side's second-half display.

"The second half I think we could not score a goal but we had good direction," he added.

"That is what I liked this evening and we had many opportunities."

Despite the defeat Trapattoni believes his team can bounce back against Cyprus.

Asked if he thought the players would suffer a psychological blow from tonight's result, he said: "No. In dressing room the players heads are a little but down, but I comforted them because after three or four weeks, when they have played in their leagues they will be better."

Australia coach Pim Verbeek admitted the result had flattered his side and praised the performance of Cahill - who he was able to withdraw at the break.

"Tim is a great player on and off field," he said.

"Beside that he works very hard, he has quality to create goals and if he is there he will score them."

He added: "Tonight 3-0 was too much, the third goal was a fantastic goal. But if you look at chances, especially Robbie Keane, Ireland had plenty of chances."

The Dutchman also refused to be drawn on Lucas Neill's absence from the squad, amid speculation the defender was set to sign for a club in the upcoming days.

"I wanted him to be with me on the sidelines. He was with me here today to tap on the boys shoulders and support them," he said.

"I was not ready to take a risk with him."

Asked if that meant Neill was on the verge of signing for a club, he replied: "You will have to ask him that. I don't think he would like me to say."

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