Ireland’s veteran coach Giovanni Trapattoni has said his team must show belief against defending champions Spain as the Irish fight to keep their Euro 2012 dreams alive.
Having suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia in their opening Group C game on Sunday, Ireland are looking at an almost certain early exit unless they can get something from their game with the world champions in Gdansk.
“We have another 90 minutes coming up against a very strong Spain side,” said Trapattoni. “We have to believe that we can win. Every game in this Euro could be a surprise. We have to believe this.”
It has been a decade since the 2002 World Cup Finals, the last time an Irish team appeared at a major finals but Trapattoni’s team now have their work cut out as they face Spain, followed by Italy, who drew 1-1 here on Sunday.
Del Bosque not ‘happy’
Having played a 4-3-3 formation against Italy with Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas up front, Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque must decide whether to give striker Fernando Torres another chance.
“I am not happy about everything that happened against Italy – there are things we must improve,” said del Bosque. “But I am not unhappy with the options we have, we had four options – the three everyone was aware of [strikers Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Torres or Fernando Llorente] and then that of Cesc.”
Del Bosque said if it came to it he would do without a classic centre forward again.
“The only thing that interests us is what is in the interest of the team. The opinions of others surely have interests distinct from our own.”
Italy expected to be on offensive
Meanwhile, Antonio Cassano believes Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will continue his attacking approach as the Azzurri tackle Croatia in their second European Championship Group C match.
Italy surprised many with their positive performance in a 1-1 draw with Spain as they took the game to the defending champions. And Cassano said a return to the traditional ‘catenaccio’ (door-bolt) style of the past is not an option under Prandelli.
“From the first day, his style has always been to attack,” said the 29-year-old AC Milan forward. “He’s changed his system but his style is always to have possession and to attack. Against Spain we did it less because they had a lot of the ball but you saw the same idea.”
Italy need a victory to ensure they tackle Ireland in their final group game with their destiny in their own hands.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2012.
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