Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Trapattoni sticking to the basics

Giovanni Trapattoni is refusing to throw caution to the wind as he attempts to launch Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with victory in Armenia.

Ireland will run out at the Yerevan Republican Stadium Friday evening knowing a win would send them into Tuesday night's clash with Group B minnows Andorra in Dublin with an excellent chance to open their account with maximum points.

Asked if he would settle for a 1-0 victory Friday, he said: "Sure. Immediately. We have to play as we have played in games in the past. It is important that we recognise when we can play and when we cannot. The most important thing is the result."

Trapattoni's pragmatism may infuriate his critics, but he can point to the positive results which took his team to within a hair's breadth of the World Cup finals.

It is a theme he revisits regularly whenever he is asked if Ireland could play a more expansive game.

He said: "Brazil and Argentina played beautiful football at the World Cup. They went home."

At 71, ambition still burns bright for Trapattoni as he attempts to guide Ireland to the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 2002.

Their current group is a tough one, with Russia, Slovakia and Macedonia their most likely challengers.

Asked if they could go one better than they did in the last campaign, which saw them finish second behind reigning world champions Italy, Trapattoni replied: "I have been a manager for 30 years and I have never said 'I am sure'. But in my heart, I feel maybe we can win it.

"But it is not an easy group - Slovakia, Russia, Ireland..."


From Belfast Telegraph