Soccer Digest: Giovanni Trapattoni still confident of World Cup success
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Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has laughed at the latest criticism to come his way and promised fans: “We can still make the World Cup finals in Brazil next year.”
Pundits Eamon Dunphy and Niall Quinn have called for Trapattoni to resign after a 1-1 draw in Sweden was followed by a 2-2 scoreline at home to Austria last Tuesday in vital World Cup qualifiers.
Austria only leveled through a David Alaba goal two minutes into injury time at the Aviva Stadium, but the critics have had a field day.
Trapattoni, with six months left in his current deal with the FAI, is refusing to budge and insists he can still lead his team to the World Cup finals.
The Italian said after the Austria game, “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.
Trapattoni had targeted four points from the two games but had to settle for just two.
He still insists he will be in charge when Ireland resumes World Cup action against the Faroe Islands in June.
Asked about his future, he said, “Why not? We are the same in the table. It has not changed.”
The Irish players conceded an early goal at home to Austria but fought back to lead through two Jonathan Walters goals, one from the penalty spot, before the late leveler.
Everton defender Seamus Coleman admitted, “It’s very disappointing. We tried to hold out and get all three points, but it was a sucker goal at the end.
“We’re still a bit bitter at the minute. It’s hard to take. I thought we got the win, but we move on to the next game.”
Striker Shane Long was devastated by Austria’s late equalizer.
“It’s fairly devastating, it would have been a big three points for us. But we can’t let it get us down too much. We will be disappointed but we will have to push on and get over it,” he said.
“After we got the second I thought we would go on and get a third and kick on. We had a few chances where we needed a bit of luck.”
Striker Conor Sammon also refused to accept that Ireland’s World Cup bid is over after making his competitive debut in the draw with Austria when he came into the starting team for captain Robbie Keane, injured in the away draw with Sweden.
“It’s definitely disappointing to come away with just a point, and two points from the two big games,” Sammon said.
“Obviously, the league is very tight. We know we still have to play Austria away and Sweden here as well, so there are still lots of points to play for.
“As a group, we just need to try to be positive and just take it one game at a time and try to move forward.
“I definitely think we can still qualify. There’s no reason why we can’t.
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