Giovanni Trapattoni praises Spain and Croatia ahead of final Euro 2012 warm-up game
Given to play against Hungary on Monday night
Shay Given will prove his fitness for the Euros in Hungary on Monday night – as manager Giovanni Trapattoni prepares for a Croatian test against a team he admits is dangerous.
Ireland wrap up their Euro 2012 preparations in Budapest before next Sunday’s opening group game against Croatia in Poznan.
Given, who sat out training on Saturday with blistered feet, will play against the Hungarians in a strong Irish team that will also feature Aiden McGeady from the start.
And Trapattoni has no fears about his goalkeeper’s availability when Ireland return to the Euro stage for the first time since 1988 next weekend.
“Shay is fit, he will be fine for the championship,” said Trapattoni as his team left their Italian training camp for Budapest on Sunday.
Trap knows Croatia will present a stiff test in Ireland’s opening game and acknowledges that Slaven Bilic’s team could have a big championship ahead of them.
Trapattoni said: “Croatia are unpredictable because when we think of these nations who were originally part of Yugoslavia and now are independent, they are living a second life and they are very, very strong.”
Coach Marco Tardelli was impressed with midfielder Luka Modric in particular when the teams played a friendly in Dublin last year.
Tardelli said: “We played a friendly game against Croatia in Dublin and we saw that they are a very good team.
“Modric as a player is a little bit like Andrea Pirlo. He plays a little bit more up front than Pirlo does and he is very fast. I am very scared about Croatia.”
“But I already have a plan: we draw against Croatia, then we win against Spain and then we win against Italy and we qualify from the group.”
Manager Trapattoni also revealed that he regards group rivals Spain as the favourites for the tournament.
He added: “Spain are world champions, and we know the two most famous teams in Europe are Real Madrid and Barcelona, and that the players in the national team mainly come from those two teams.
“They are the favourites. In each department; in defence, in midfield and in attack, they have amazing players.”
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