Italians wary of facing legend

Fresh noises from the Italy camp continue to highlight the mixture of concern and respect with which the Azzurri view their meeting with Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland on June 18 in Poznan.

Quoted in World Soccer, Juventus and Italy centre-half Giorgio Chiellini said: “I just hope we can put a halt to Trap’s gallop. I’ve never had Trap as a coach but he remains a legend of Italian soccer. Destiny is strange. We faced Trap’s Ireland in the last World Cup qualifying round and they gave so much bother and now we meet them again in the European finals. Of course, we didn’t want to meet him. We’ve lots of respect for Trap and his team, while it’s obviously very special for him to play against Italy. The fact is that we would have been supporting him and Ireland like mad — if only they were playing in another group.”

And when asked about the prospect of facing Trapattoni again, Italy manager Cesare Prandelli replied with a laugh: “I don’t even want to name him or it will bring me bad luck. As soon as you mention his name, he pops up to lay some sort of trap for you! In truth, though, it will be an honour and a pleasure to meet Ireland and Trap. I feel very linked to him — he was my coach at Juventus for six years.

“For me, he’s a reference point and not just from the viewpoint of football technique. Trap’s Ireland will make everyone struggle, us included. We have to start off with that in mind, otherwise it will be very, very difficult. Trap will be a very awkward customer.”


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