Soccer Digest: Giovanni Trapattoni won’t rest on laurels for UEFA Cup 2012
“There is the moment when a team can be close to their optimum level, at 99% and special things can happen.
“I think we were at that level when we played in Paris. We did not lose because we weren’t good enough. The France coach Raymond Domenech said to me, ‘Giovanni, this is football.’
“Bad things can happen but we showed our capabilities in that game and we can show them again. It’s not a question for us of dreaming but believing in what we can do.
“Perhaps we will be underestimated by the opposition. That’s OK, maybe it’s a good thing for us. But I have been a coach for more than 30 years and I know we’re a good team with a solid base and I know we can do well.”
A Good Run
Ireland are now just three games short of a record run of 17 matches unbeaten achieved during the Jack Charlton era – and they would achieve that at the Euros.
Wins or draws against Croatia, Spain and Italy in the group games would extend the current run to 17 after Monday night’s scoreless draw in Hungary.
Defender John O’Shea, fit again after recent ankle problems, told the Irish Sun, “It’s a piece of cake! It’ll be no problem to us, just stay unbeaten in the group!
“It would be a fantastic way to do it and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. We’ve talked about the belief the team has, the squad has and the belief that the manager has given us as well.
“The run is something we’re proud of, obviously, but we know as well that we’re going to have to take our chances. We had a little bit of luck defensively against Hungary and we’re going to have to take our chances, too.”
After missing out at the 2002 World Cup despite late calls for his inclusion in Mick McCarthy’s squad, O’Shea can’t wait for the big kick-off on Sunday.
The Waterford born defender said: “It’s obviously going to be very important for me personally to be playing in a major tournament, but first and foremost it’s all about the team.
“We’ve got a tough group but one we’re capable of getting through and we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“Look, there’s probably going to be a few more twists and turns yet before the start of the group stage, so we’ll need to keep everyone wrapped up for the next couple of days, recover and then look forward.
“Teams are going to cause each other problems and it’s how you cope with those problems which will determine who goes through and who doesn’t.”
Ireland wrapped up their Euro preparations with a scoreless draw away to Hungary in Budapest on Monday night, a result even manager Giovanni Trapattoni admitted they were lucky to get away with.
Goalkeeper Shay Given and second half replacement Kieren Westwood made crucial saves as Hungary’s youngsters ran Ireland ragged at times.
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