Belfast Telegraph

King insists Republic of Ireland can shock Germany

By Damian Spellman

Noel King has dismissed claims he has nothing to lose as he prepares to send the Republic of Ireland into World Cup battle with Germany.

The Under-21s boss has been placed in interim charge of the team following Giovanni Trapattoni's departure as manager last month, and will send them out in Cologne on Friday night looking to spring a major shock in Group C.

Victory for the Germans would formally secure their passage to next summer's finals in Brazil and having hammered Trapattoni's men 6-1 in Dublin in October last year, anything else would come as a surprise.

However, while there is little riding on the game – or the one which follows it on Tuesday evening when Kazakhstan head for the Aviva Stadium – for King and his players, he insists there will be plenty at stake on a personal level.

He said: "I see this as a huge match for me, a huge match. The German match is huge for my professional pride.

"This is what I do. I have always had a view about what international managers should and shouldn't do, what international players should and shouldn't do, so it's key, it's huge for me.

"Just turning up and expecting, 'It's okay, Germany can roll over us' – that wouldn't be acceptable.

"I have to live in Ireland after this. That's my long-term."

The Republic currently lie fourth in the group after last month's defeats by Sweden and Austria, and barring an unlikely sequence of results and an unprecedented goal rush, they have only pride to play for.

However, King's sole focus will be to put together a side which can not only tame one of the powerhouses of European football, but attempt to beat them.

He said: "It's a football match. Every kid, every adult, they go into a football match to try to win the game. That's all I know, and that's my mission, to try to win the game.

"How we go about doing it and against the opposition – it might sound naive, but I am not naive. I understand fully the magnitude of the tie, but the mission is to try to win the game, nothing else."

King's first act as manager was to restore the previously discarded or ignored Darron Gibson, Andy Reid, Anthony Stokes and Kevin Doyle to the squad, and all four were in Malahide when the party met up yesterday.

Wolves striker Doyle was one of five men – Stephen Henderson, Ciaran Clark, Damien Delaney and Aiden McGeady were the others –-who did not train after playing on Sunday or to rest knocks.

Skipper Robbie Keane, Stoke defender Marc Wilson, Norwich's Anthony Pilkington and West Brom's Shane Long were due to join their team-mates last night.

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