All roads lead to Italy

Giovanni Trapattoni has a hunch Ireland’s hopes of progressing from Group C in Euro 2012 will come down to another meeting with his native Italy.

But, first, he feels it is vital that Ireland win their opening game against Croatia.

“If we win the first game, then in my head there is this, that maybe the third game can decide,” he said. “If we beat Croatia this will be very important, not only psychologically but also for our second game, against Spain. Then I think the third game could be decisive.”

Asked if he could see Ireland winning the Championships, Trapattoni pointed to football’s eternal capacity to surprise. “Barcelona thought ‘we are the champions’ and lost to Chelsea. Denmark were on holiday and came late to the Euros and won. When I was young player, I played the best player in the world. Pele. I thought I was dead. We won the game. That is football... 90 minutes is 90 minutes.”

On the injury front, Darron Gibson’s thigh problem, will need to be assessed by Ireland’s medical team.


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