Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Trap wants to reign against Spain

Giovanni Trapattoni will renew acquaintances with Spain on Wednesday wishing he could start the Euro 2012 finals all over again.

The 74-year-old Italian won the acclaim of a nation when he guided Ireland to their first major tournament finals for 10 years. However, inside nine brutal days, he saw the team he had built and schooled to the point where stubborn resistance had become an art form simply fall apart in the heat of battle.

In truth, Ireland were always going to have to punch above their weight to get a great deal out of a group with saw them thrust into competition with Croatia, Spain and Italy, but the Spaniards in particular proved irresistible as they coasted to a 4-0 victory in Gdansk in their second group game.

Trapattoni freely admits he did not expect the capitulation he witnessed in Poland, nor was he initially able to comprehend it. However, given his time over - and he will get a chance to test the theory in New York during the early hours of Wednesday morning - he believes his team would fare significantly better.

He said: "If we could repeat our Euros without this great weight on our shoulders and without one or two silly mistakes, I think we could repeat this game and not suffer against Spain.

"At that moment, we were a very, very good team and we qualify very well. But after 10 minutes, we conceded a goal against Croatia, and we lost our confidence.

"I would like to repeat this game. Every 90 minutes until that moment, we had trust and confidence because the team achieved qualification."

Trapattoni has since analysed what went wrong during the summer, and admits a relative lack of experience - only Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane had been to a finals tournament before - had taken its toll.

He said: "After this disappointment, I couldn't understand why the team played well until the Euros, but I know this now. It's a different weight, the international game. We qualified for the Euros, but a lot of football is in the head and many of the players did not have this habit in international football.

"At that moment, only people like Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne had experienced this, and there was some anxiety among the players. It was important that we started a new attitude, a new mentality. That was our job."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph