Giovanni Trapattoni and his players may pause for prayer in the final minutes leading up to the Republic of Ireland’s much anticipated clash with Spain at Euro 2012.
Between the home dressing-room (Ireland are listed as the home team for the game with Spain at Gdank’s PGE Arena) and the tunnel leading out onto the pitch, there is a small chapel which can be used for Mass at a moment’s notice.
Trapatonni is well known for his religious background – his sister is a nun in Italy and during his time as the Azzurri national team manager; Trapatonni was known to sprinkle holy water around his team’s dugout – in a bid to attract divine intervention.
Having been eliminated from the 2002 World Cup thanks to some outrageous refereeing decisions in the round of 16 and becoming the first nation to be eliminated from the Group stages of a European Championships having earned five points from three matches (back in 2004); there are those who could justifiably argue that Trap’s prayers weren’t answered during his time as Italy manager.
The 73 year-old’s faith remains strong however although his Irish players are thought not to be as passionately religious. Damien Duff and John O’Shea however known to prayer and it is thought that they and probably other Irish players will avail of the PGE Arena chapel during the days, hours and minutes leading up to kick-off in Gdansk on 14th June against the defending World and European champions.