TRAP UNHAPPY WITH LONG

The Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has criticised the claims made by the striker Shane Long that his fitness is not up to the mark. Republic of Ireland were set to face Serbia in a friendly match on Wednesday. Shane Long was in the squad as one of the recognised members of the first team. However, he pulled out of training in the final few moments claiming that his calf has been giving a lot of problems in recent times. As a result, Giovanni Trapattoni had no other alternative but to include Simon Cox as his replacement prior to the match.

After the match, the Republic of Ireland manager criticised the claims made by the striker saying that he was not fit ahead of this match. Republic of Ireland could only manage a 1-1 draw and the manager was visibly frustrated that he was not able to use his first-team player in the match. Giovanni Trapattoni also confirmed that Shane Long would have started the match had not been for the fitness fiasco in the final few moments leading up to the preparation. As a result of not feeling his preferred starting line-up, Trapattoni was unable to get the desired result in this friendly match.

“He said ‘I have pain’ and now he says he is fit – that is idiotic. He is no baby. The doctor was worried, and they did a scan in hospital. For me, it is impossible to understand this. He could say, ‘I am ready’, before the game,” said Giovanni Trapattoni after the match. It is thought that the striker made this decision not to be part of the friendly match in order to be fit in time for the opening match of the Premier league season. The West Brom striker will be facing Liverpool on the opening day.

LAWRENSON WRITES OFF CHANCES

Former Republic of Ireland and Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has written off the hopes of Republic of Ireland qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The nation – under manager Giovanni Trapattoni – created history this summer after qualifying for the Euro 2012 after a gap of 10 years. Even though they failed to get past the group stages of the competition, there is real belief within the country that they will be able to once again qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. However, former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson, who is currently working as a pundit for BBC, has written off the hopes of Republic of Ireland making it into this major tournament.

In order to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Republic of Ireland should first negotiate teams like Germany and Sweden in the qualifying group. Mark Lawrenson reckons that it will be extremely difficult for Giovanni Trapattoni to once again repeat the magic due to the concerns about the age of the squad. A number of high profile players within the team are nearing the end of their high-profile careers. Lawrenson doubts whether they will be around to give their best in the next two seasons.

“It’s a very tough group. It’s going to be extremely difficult. I think Germany have looked the best team in Euro 2012, that’s including Spain. So it’s going to be very difficult for Ireland even to finish second, I don’t see them qualifying for 2014. I think it may be a while before they ever qualify for anything again. They haven’t got that many players to pick from, a lot of players are from the Championship, and they actually need a group of players who are all good Premier League players to come through together,” said Lawrenson.

Ireland Suffer Setback

Ireland took a major setback in their quest to get out of a tough group in this summer’s tournament. Their 3-1 loss to Croatia has had many doubting the Republic’s ability to get out of their group or to even pick up a point. Having failed to pick anything up in what was perceived to be their easiest game in their group the Irish face tough games against Spain and Italy.

Simon Cox, Ireland’s striker though is not having any of it. He is still adamant that his side are not fearful of taking on two of football heavyweights in the remainder of their games. Next up is Spain and the Irish really need to take something out of this game in order to take anything out of the competition as a whole.

In a way the pressure is now off the Irish. No one is expecting them to qualify and anything they do achieve will be a huge bonus for them and this appears to have relaxed the Ireland team in their build up to these games. Cox, talking about the upcoming game said “we are going to go out and enjoy it” and “We don’t fear Spain, it’s a game we look forward to”.

If there’s anything we can learn from the Irish they have a knack of rising their game when the pressure is off against the big sides. They showed this is 1990, 1994 and 2002 where they turned many heads and impressed on their way to a quarter final and two second round appearances. That said, they do seem to lack a Wayne Rooney type player, and need someone to start leading from the midfield like Jack Wilshere does for Arsenal.

With a chance to enjoy their football and show the world what they are capable of don’t bet against Ireland giving this tournament something to remember them by and who knows maybe even causing an upset against the Spanish, Italians or in their wildest dreams, maybe even both.

NO RISKS

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has said that he will not be risking the players who will be travelling to the Euro 2012 in the friendly matches. Republic of Ireland will be playing in two friendlies prior to the start of the Euro 2012. They are in the group containing both Spain and Italy, but Giovanni Trapattoni has been speaking extremely confident about his team’s ability to get a result against the former world champions. It is not surprising given that Republic of Ireland recently have beaten Italy in friendly matches. Republic of Ireland will be facing Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary in the two friendly matches.

Giovanni Trapattoni has already had to deal with a number of injury problems to some of his high profile players. Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given has been the latest injury trouble for the Italian. It is expected that the former Newcastle United goalkeeper will be visiting a knee specialist in the next few days in order to overcome his knee problem. Robbie Keane is struggling with a hamstring injury, but is expected to make it into the tournament. As a result, Trapattoni will be experimenting only with formations ahead of the tournament.

“They want to play but it is not worth the risk. Why run the risk? I am an idiot, he is an idiot if he is injured. We will decide if it is better for them not to play because it’s too near to the finals. I am only worried when we have serious injuries and at the moment we only have two or three small injuries. The doctor says they can be ready in two or three days and I am not particularly worried,” Trapattoni said in the interview given ahead of the Bosnia match, which is expected to be a formality.

TRAPATTONI FACES TOUGH DECISIONS

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has said that he is facing a lot of tough decisions when it comes to choosing his squad for the Euro 2012. There are only a few weeks left before the start of the competition in June. Ireland are in the group containing heavyweights like Spain and Italy. Even though not many have given them a chance to progress into the next round, Giovanni Trapattoni believes that he will be able to get the best out of his players in order to qualify for the next round. One of the biggest indicators of his team for the Euro 2012 came in the form of a comment that appeared to suggest that the 73-year-old Italian will favour the players who were part of the qualifying rounds.

Ireland will first be heading out to Italy to take part in the pretournament camp. Trapattoni will be taking a 23 man squad for the pretournament camp. The Italian said that it is especially tough on the players who will miss out on the squad, but he has no other choice than to take the best 23. Trapattoni said that there were around 28 brilliant players for Ireland, but only 23 will be making that final squad. Sunderland winger James McLean is expected to be a shock inclusion in the squad after his impressive performances for his club.

“We have 27 or 28 players and it will be a great pity, a great pity, when we have to decide on the 23, to decide on this player or that player. We have time until a few days before the tournament starts and we can change if there is injury, and then maybe we could do with these extra players. I have two or three decisions to make,” said Trapattoni ahead of the conclusion of the club season.