Trapattoni eyes vital victory
Giovanni Trapattoni has told his Ireland team to put their winning mentality to good use to ensure they do not pass up the chance to reach the Euro 2012 finals.
Ireland ensured their dream of qualification remains alive heading into Tuesday night's last Group B fixture with Armenia in Dublin with a 2-0 victory in Andorra. However, Russia's win in Slovakia means they remain in pole position to claim top spot and automatic qualification from Group B with the Andorrans due in Moscow on Tuesday.
A draw at the Aviva Stadium would be enough to send Ireland into the play- offs, but a win for Armenia, the group's dark horses, would hand them the ticket for the lottery instead.
Trapattoni said: "We must continue in this way, we must continue with our attitude, our mentality. I am happy because we had many good situations and we did not concede a chance to the opponent. But it's important that we never under-estimate any opponent."
Ireland will certainly not under-estimate Armenia, who have gone from strength to strength since Trapattoni's men beat them 1-0 in Yerevan in September last year and will claim the play-off place for themselves with three points in Dublin.
Asked if they would play for the point they need on Tuesday evening, Trapattoni's response was unequivocal.
He said: "It would be very, very wrong to start with that mentality. If we did that, it wouldn't be my team. My team will always play to win."
Ireland claimed their latest three points with the minimum of fuss and extended their impressive run of clean sheets to eight in the process. Skipper Robbie Keane had already rattled the bar when Kevin Doyle fired them in front, turning the ball home from close range after unwittingly blocking his strike-partner's seventh-minute shot.
It was 2-0 by the time the clock reached the 20-minute mark when keeper Josep Gomes blocked Aiden McGeady's powerfully-struck drive, only to see the ball rebound off defender Ildefons Lima and drop into his net. John O'Shea and Keane might have increased the visitors' lead after the break, but the points were safe.
Trapattoni said: 'Robbie Keane had three or four good chances. He was unlucky this evening."