PRAISE

Martin O’Neill, who was recently appointed as the new Republic of Ireland manager to replace Giovanni Trapattoni, has praised the performance of his players in the recent 0-0 draw with Poland. Even though this was an away match, Ireland managed to come away with a positive result according to O’Neill. The former Sunderland manager has joined hands with Roy Keane to transform the fortunes of Ireland, who have been criticised a lot in recent years. They reached the Euro 2012 under Trapattoni, but failed to win even a single match at this tournament.

O’Neill will be handed the task of getting the team to Euro 2016 after the team failed to reach the World Cup 2014. The team was recently involved in a friendly match against Poland. They were coming into the match on the back of a convincing 3-0 win over Latvia at home. This was the first match of O’Neill, which saw the team play with a spirited attitude and scored goals. However, they could not open the scoring against Poland, but the manager was happy with the display of his players by saying that it was a resilient performance.

“We are away from home and it’s a good result in that sense. We can improve on lots of things and the players think that themselves. It was tough going at times – there were very few chances but we saw it through. I won’t see them for some time now and I’ll have withdrawal symptoms. I’m not so sure it will be the same for the players,” said O’Neill.

Martin O’Neill is known for his spells at Aston Villa and Celtic.

Republic of Ireland will next face Serbia in a friendly match in March. They could schedule friendly matches in the summer against teams that did not qualify for the World Cup.

TRAP SPELL OVER?

Giovanni Trapattoni has been the manager of Republic of Ireland for last five years, but it seems that his spell in charge of the national team is coming to an end. Only qualification to the World Cup in 2014 is likely to keep him in the job. There are already a number of candidates being linked with the role. The likes of Martin O’Neill, Brian McDermott, and Mick McCarthy have been touted as possible successors for Trapattoni, but Swedish striker Tobias Hysen thinks that former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane is the best man for the job.

Keane is out of work after having left Ipswich Town a few years ago. So far, he has managed only two clubs in his managerial career. He had the most success at Sunderland when they were in the Championship, but his record in the Premier league is mediocre. This led to the Sunderland exit following which he took over the Ipswich job. He was given the task of getting Ipswich into the Premier league, but he failed in that objective despite spending a lot of money.

“I played under Roy at Sunderland in 2006/07 when he took us from bottom to top of the Championship. I’ve no doubt he’ll get back into management because he was probably the best I played under. All Roy does is place the same demands on players that he placed upon himself at United. Some of the English players at Sunderland had a problem with that approach but I didn’t. He was one of Ireland’s most successful players, so why not give him a chance to manage the national team?” asked Hysen.

So far, Keane has been noncommittal about his next job in management because he is aware that another failure could spell doom to his aspirations of being a top manager.

TRAP BACKS GOMEZ

Fiorentina recently managed to secure the signing of German international Mario Gomez for an undisclosed fee. The former Stuttgart striker has grown frustrated of life at the Allianz Arena after spending most of the last season on the bench at Bayern Munich. Hence, he was extremely concerned about the chances of him being in the German squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This has led to his move to the Italian club, who have been creating waves after the arrival of Vincenzo Montella.

He took over the club only last season and almost netted them a top three place at the end of the season. It has been several years since Fiorentina were last seen in the Champions league, but there is a real belief within the fans that the club can achieve something special after the arrival of Gomez. During his spell at Bayern Munich, he managed to score 113 goals in just 174 matches. At 27 years of age, he is at the peak of his career. Trapattoni, who saw enough of Gomez while managing Stuttgart, has said that he has all the ability to make Fiorentina a great club once again.

Gomez was in the Stuttgart second-team when Trapattoni was managing the first-team.

“He was in the second team of Stuttgart. A clever boy, twice a week for hours he and I were to see the technical and tactical aspects for improvement and I’m happy with his career. When [Uli] Hoeness and [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge called me to ask an opinion I did not hesitate a moment in recommending him. Improvements? He’s physically gifted, and mobile despite its size. He had to improve with the left foot, which he did. Mario can perform what is the aspiration of Fiorentina,” said Trapattoni, whose team will next face Wales in a friendly match.

TRICKY TASK

The Republic of Ireland face a difficult task in order to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The team are currently fighting against Austria and Sweden for the final qualification spot in their group. Germany’s impressive form means that the automatic qualification spot is out of reach for these contenders. They will have to qualify for the World Cup through the play-offs at best. Ireland are at a disadvantage compared with Austria and Sweden in this fight, which is putting a lot of pressure on manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney is the latest to put more pressure on Trapattoni by saying that the team should win four out of the last five qualification matches. He has said that only a return of 12 points from these matches will help Ireland at least come close to playing at the World Cup. Trapattoni, though, has done a remarkable job in the views of many to help Ireland qualify for a major tournament in the form of the European championships 2012 after a long time. However, Ireland did not enhance their reputation after suffering an embarrassing defeat in this competition.

After failing to win the last two World Cup qualifying matches, Ireland do need a victory from the next match against Faroe Islands in June.

“We’re running out of games to catch up. It would have been a bit easier had we won against Austria, but we move on. Our challenge is to try and win at least four of our last five games. We were very unfortunate to only get two points from the games against Sweden and Austria. We deserved more. But we have the Faroe Islands next (in June) and we should win that. Then, there’s the big double in September when we have Sweden at home and Austria away,” said Delaney.

STILL POSSIBLE

Despite failing to win both of their recent World Cup qualifying matches, the Republic of Ireland manager has said that he is confident that the team can qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. Giovanni Trapattoni has said that he believes that his team can still take advantage of the fact that other teams have not pulled away from them in the table. Despite managing draws from both the matches against Sweden and Austria, Ireland remain level on points with their competitors for the second place in the group. Germany continue to have a massive advantage at the top of the table leaving the rest of the teams to fight for the play-offs positions.

Several pundits have called for the Italian to resign after the poor showings in the recent World Cup qualifying matches. Trapattoni has just six months left on his contract, and he has said that he is confident about taking the team to the World Cup. He has said that the team was extremely unlucky not to take all three points from the match against Austria. He pointed to the chance from Shane Long that hit the post. Prior to the matches against Austria and Sweden, Trapattoni said that his team needed to take four points. However, they managed only two.

“There is a long way to go and we have the same possibility we had. This team can grow more in confidence and personality. Obviously I am not satisfied with this draw, but I have got to accept that we were missing a bit of experience. But we hit the post through Shane Long and the last goal was a deflection, so I can say we have been a little bit unlucky — a little bit, but not much,” said Trapattoni. Ireland’s next match will be a friendly against England.

GREAT WIN

The fantastic 2-0 win by the Republic of Ireland over Poland has led to the praise from the manager Giovanni Trapattoni. The Italian has also praised the youngsters within the national team squad by saying that they have improved a lot. Trapattoni decided to field a young look inside for the match against Poland. Players like Glenn Whelan and John O’Shea were amongst the few experienced members in the squad. Despite this, Ireland were able to dominate the match and comfortably win it 2-0 in the end. Ireland were coming into the match on the back of an indifferent form, which had raised questions of the manager Trapattoni.

In the last four encounters, Ireland have managed just two victories and have lost the other two. As a result, Poland came into the match with real confidence that they will be able to cause an upset. However, a goal from Ciaran Clark in the 35th minute settled the nerves for the Irish, while a goal from the Norwich City player Wes Hoolahan in the 76th minute helped Ireland doubled their advantage. Trapattoni was especially pleased afterwards due to the clean sheet kept by the team. This was the first clean sheet by Ireland in the last four matches.

“This evening we needed to see two or three good solutions with the new players. In the first half we suffered very much and Poland played very well. But our organisation and balance was very good and I think after the goal, in the second half, we played better and had more personality. The new players played very well and we are happy with the result. Poland did not deserve to lose but football is football. I think our defenders are good enough – we have no other solutions in that position,” said Trapattoni.

GIVEN PLAYS ON

The Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has said that he is extremely delighted with the news that the Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given wants to play international football once again. Given retired from international duty after the Euro 2012 in which the Irish performed very poorly. The Aston Villa goalkeeper recently said in an interview that he will be considering his international future after the new year. Given has been one of the indispensable parts of the Irish national team over the last decade. He has been widely regarded as one of the best players in the Premier league, although he is not getting a lot of game time right now.

Trapattoni has revealed that he will be getting in touch with Given shortly. It was initially thought that the 36-year-old decided to quit international football in order to focus on his club career. However, he has not been the first choice under the manager Paul Lambert. Given has admitted that he misses the experience of playing for the Irish national team. He has not yet confirmed that he will be returning to international football, but has given the strongest indication that he will be ready to do so when called upon. The Republic of Ireland will be playing in a friendly match against Poland next month.

“I am very happy that Shay has got over the disappointment of the Euros and would be happy to see him available again. I will be in touch with him to discuss it shortly,” said the manager of the national team. “I do miss playing for Ireland and we will see what happens in 2013,” said Shay Given a few weeks ago in an interview given to the Irish Sun. The team has lost two of the last three matches in all competitions.

TRAP HAPPY WITH MATCH

The Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has said that he is extremely satisfied with the performance of his players in recent 1-0 defeat against Greece. Republic of Ireland were coming into the match on the back of the 4-1 victory in their World Cup qualifying. Trapattoni had seen Jose Holebas score the only goal of the game in the 29th minute to give Greece the victory, but he said after the match that he could not fault his players. He said that they have given their all in the match and they were reasonably good.

Many expected a defensive match from both teams and it turned out to be the case. The Greece manager Fernando Santos said before the match that he will be looking to play to the strengths of the team, which is being extremely defensive and not allowing opponents the chance to score. However, he would be extremely happy at the goal scored by Jose Holebas, which gave them the victory. It was also a confirmation of the good run of form that they have been experiencing in recent weeks since the exit from the Euro 2012 in the quarter-final stage. They have been undefeated since that 4-2 defeat suffered against Germany in the European championships.

“The results gives us great disappointment, but the performance gives us possibilities. It gave us confirmation of what we were looking for. Coleman, McCarthy, Long and also McClean, they confirmed against a great team – because Greece are a great team – their quality and their personality, and that was important. In the first 20 minutes, we played very, very great football. We conceded the goal and even then, we still had more possession,” said Trapattoni. The team’s next match will be World Cup qualifying encounter against Sweden in March.

TRAPATTONI HAS AUTHORITY

The Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has said that he feels that he does have the authority over the team, while also claiming that the football Association does not have any influence on his decisions. The 73-year-old has come under intense pressure in recent months due to the lack of results from the national team. After have qualified for the Euro 2012 in spectacular fashion, they failed miserably at the competition itself. The humiliating 6-1 defeat at the hands of Germany has only added to the pressure on the manager. The Italian has been rumoured to be subject to intense pressure from the football Association.

However, he has said that he remains in control of the team and does not have any pressure from the football Association. That has also been criticism that his command of the English language is not particularly good, but he has dismissed such suggestions by saying that there are only so many words required to be communicating in football. He has said that winning, losing, and deserving are some of the few words required to communicate, and has highlighted that no players have complained about the problem. Trapattoni also has said that the Norwich city player Wes Hoolahan is likely to be picked for the match against Norwich.

“Someone making suggestions doesn’t take authority away from me. I understand the responsibility of the FAI. Suggestions – no problems. I have the authority with my team. Some say my English is not very good. I ask the players and they all say they understand. There are only 100 or 200 words in football: ‘win, deserve, lose’, unfortunately. Sure, [Hoolahan] will play, I’m not sure if it’s the first or second half, we will decide. I spoke with Keane [about being rested], ‘no problem’,” said Giovanni Trapattoni.

TRAP ADMITS CRITICISMS

The Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has said that he was a little too critical after the 2-1 win over Kazakhstan. The Republic of Ireland started the World Cup qualification campaign with a 2-1 win over the minnows in the group, Kazakhstan. However, the manager was extremely critical of his players following the match by saying that they should have won by a much better margin. Now, he has said that the criticism may have been unwarranted because it was all about three points and his players secured the same. Giovanni Trapattoni has also expressed his confidence that the team will be able to get a result against Germany in the next qualification match.

Germany are undoubtedly the favourites to qualify from the group, but Trapattoni believes that they can spring a surprise. The Republic of Ireland were heavily criticised for their poor performance at the Euro 2012, despite this being the first major competition they have played for more than a decade. The manager has also said that it is likely that he will use a three-man midfield against Germany in the hopes of preventing the Germans from dominating the match in the centre of the park.

“We must forget what happened months ago. After Kazakhstan I was too critical with my players. In the first 50 minutes we could have scored a goal. We can change because we can play with two or three in central midfield. The European champions, Spain, play without a striker. In Ireland, that would be the end of the world. It’s possible because we are deciding what is the best thing to do. Maybe after an hour, we can switch. Against Germany, why not think about three midfielders, for example?” said Giovanni Trapattoni after the 4-1 win over Oman in a recent friendly match.