Giovanni Trapattoni has stated to uefa.com that he believes he has gotten the most possible out a limited Irish side who narrowly missed out on qualification for the last World Cup and then proceeded to reach Euro 2012 via the play-offs.
The manager has, as ever, sought to temper Irish expectations ahead of what is a difficult group at the European finals, stating: “We don’t have those outstanding players like, for example, Spain or players like Messi or Ronaldo. We’re a team; we’re a well-organised team, well-balanced and with a precise identity so we know how to play when we need to play and we know how to defend when we have to defend.”
Trapattoni is the oldest manager ever to take charge of a side at the European Championship finals and has extended his contract with the FAI until the end of the qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with the 73 year-old set to use younger players he previously had not used for that campaign: “Obviously it wasn’t easy but after everything we went through and achieving our objectives, I was convinced that there is a chance of a continuation in the future with all the new young players who become a second option and continue on this path,” said the man whose English is not always easy to understand.
Ireland face Croatia in Poznan on June 10th before meeting World and European champions Spain four days later and finishing their Euro 2012 group phase fixtures against Trapattoni’s homeland. It is hoped that his intimate knowledge of the Italians will help secure a positive result for Ireland.