Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Trap buoyed by Ireland performance

Giovanni Trapattoni was impressed by his young side against Greece

Giovanni Trapattoni is looking to the future after seeing his Ireland young guns give a good account of themselves in the 1-0 friendly defeat by Greece.

Jose Holebas' 29th-minute strike ultimately secured victory for the Greeks at the Aviva Stadium, but Trapattoni, who must now start to draw up a plan to halt Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the sides meet in Stockholm in the next round of World Cup qualifiers in March, was happy with what he saw.

He said: "The results gives us great disappointment, but the performance gives us possibilities. It gave us confirmation of what we were looking for. Coleman, McCarthy, Long and also McClean, they confirmed against a great team - because Greece are a great team - their quality and their personality, and that was important."

He added: "In the first 20 minutes, we played very, very great football. We conceded the goal and even then, we still had more possession.

"Football is about results, but we had some good situations and three or four of the players showed their personality in this difficult game. It was very important to have a good performance after the disappointment against Germany. You can see a progression."

However, while there were encouraging signs from Robbie Brady, who combined well with full-back Seamus Coleman down the right, and James McCarthy, when it came to the hard currency of clear-cut chances, they were few and far between.

Brady and McCarthy forced saves from keeper Orestis Karnezis either side of half-time, but with Simon Cox having passed up a glorious opportunity when he failed to hit the target with a 10th-minute header, one strike from the Greeks proved enough.

It came from midfielder Holebas, who turned smartly past John O'Shea after collecting skipper Georgios Samaras' pass before drilling a shot past keeper David Forde and into the bottom corner.

Trapattoni was convinced his side should have had two penalties, the first of them for a first-minute handball by defender Konstantinos Stafylidis and the second for a foul on substitute Kevin Doyle.

He said: "In the first minute, there was a great penalty - all our fans saw it. But maybe the referee did not have the courage to blow after one minute."

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