Belfast Telegraph

It's the end of the road for Republic of Ireland and Giovanni Trapattoni

Giovanni Trapattoni has admitted that his future lies in the hands of the FAI, but says he has no intention of stepping away from his position after defeat in Austria ended the Republic of Ireland's World Cup ambitions.

David Alaba's 84th-minute winner in Vienna condemned the Republic to a first away defeat in a qualifier under Trapattoni, with dreadful home form ultimately his undoing in this campaign.

The 74-year-old wants to continue as Republic boss, but acknowledged that the FAI might want to move in a different direction and he stressed they will have to pay him to go as his contract does not expire until next summer.

"I don't want to leave, but maybe they are ready for another manager," said Trapattoni.

"It is not my decision and it depends what the federation decide.

"We have an agreement until May 30 or June 1 – if they decide to go (sack him), no problem," he added.

Northern Ireland legend Martin O'Neill is the favourite to replace Trapattoni, although it's understood there has been no contact from the FAI and it is therefore still unclear whether the 61-year-old would be interested in the position.

The association must decide whether to move quickly on Trapattoni's future.

The Republic still have a double-header to play against Germany and Kazakhstan next month, but must plan without the suspended Richard Dunne and John O'Shea for the first fixture.

The prospect of a deserted Aviva Stadium for the final game of the group against the Kazakhs could influence the decision.

"I don't know," said Trapattoni (right) when asked if he expected to be in charge for those fixtures, before repeating his opinion that he does not believe that another manager could do better.

"I don't think a manager can change five players (and improve the side) – if they can, then call me and I will get a flight to see this."

Qualification for the World Cup has now gone for the Republic of Ireland, barring victories over leaders Germany and Kazakhstan by sizeable margins in their two remaining games and an unlikely series of results elsewhere.

On a night when three points were a must even before Sweden had won in Kazakhstan earlier, the Republic were simply unable to find a way to win.

Indeed, it was the home side who launched a late charge which eventually paid off with time running out.

The severity of the task facing the Republic increased before kick-off when the Swedes emerged from their tricky trip to Kazakhstan with a 1-0 win which left them six points clear of both the 74-year-old Italian's men and the Austrians, meaning victory was a must for both.

While Austria possessed the greater craft with Bayern Munich schemer Alaba and sidekick Veli Kavlak pulling the strings in the middle of midfield, the Republic's more direct game repeatedly caused problems for the home defence.

On several occasions, front two Robbie Keane and Shane Long got in behind the Austrian rearguard, but could not find the telling ball, and encouraged by their success, Trapattoni asked Jon Walters, who had started on the right side of midfield, to add his brawn to the mix inside the penalty area with Long moving out wide.

Alaba forced goalkeeper David Forde into an important 35th-minute save with a well-struck left-foot strike from distance.

Forde was called upon once again four minutes later to block Martin Harnik's skidding effort with Austria threatening to make the breakthrough.

However, opposite number Robert Almer was mightily relieved to clutch Long's 40th-minute cross to his chest as he attempted to pick out the unmarked Walters lurking at the far post.

Austria boss Marcel Koller, who had replaced Kavlak with Christoph Leitgeb at the break, sent on Marko Arnautovic for Burgstaller on the hour as he attempted to gain a foothold in the game, and the newcomer floated a speculative effort wide of the far post with Forde off his line.

But Andreas Weimann really should have put Austria ahead when he ran on to Christian Fuchs' 66th-minute pull-back, but shot straight at Forde.

Harnik was equally wasteful four minutes later when the Aston Villa midfielder's pass put him in behind Dunne and he lashed the ball high and wide.

Austria were laying siege to the Republic goal and the pressure eventually told with just six minutes remaining on the clock when Wilson could only block Fuchs' left-wing cross to Alaba, who gleefully thumped it into the roof of the net.

Belfast Telegraph


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