Sports Digest: Irish team wait to play England in Aviva until November 2012
Showdown won't happen until after European Championships
Published Thursday, December 15, 2011, 9:11 AM
Updated Thursday, December 15, 2011, 10:56 AM
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni will have to wait until November to take on fellow Italian Fabio Capello and his England side in Dublin.
FAI boss John Delaney has confirmed that the proposed Ireland-England game at the Aviva Stadium won’t happen before both teams depart for the European Championships.
Trapattoni was keen on a Lansdowne Road date with England ahead of his team’s departure for Poland and Euro2012 group games with Croatia, Spain and Italy, but that’s highly unlikely now.
“The England game is looking less likely for May,” said FAI chief executive Delaney. “The fact from the English perspective that we could play them in the quarterfinals means they’re not that keen to do it in May.
“They’re keen to come sooner rather than later after that but it’s highly unlikely that it would be May now.”
Manager Trapattoni has confirmed that Ireland’s camp will be based in Gdynia for the championships.
Trapattoni said, “I am very happy that we have been able to secure Gdynia as a base camp for Euro 2012. This base meets and exceeds all of our criteria, having a good training ground, being close to the airport and being based in Poland.
“The hotel and training facilities are excellent and provide us with a well-positioned base with all of the facilities required for the championships.”
The Irish team will train at the Municipal Stadium in Gdynia, a new ground with a capacity of 15,000.
Trap and his assistant Marco Tardelli are adamant there will be no repeat of the pre-tournament incidents that overshadowed Ireland’s World Cup bid in 2002.
“We are aware of what happened in Saipan but there will be no problems in Poland,” declared World Cup winner Tardelli after his flying visit to Poland with Trapattoni.
“A few associations had problems with pitches at that World Cup and by far ours was the most high profile, but it is not something that is foremost on our minds now.
“We know it is important that we get it right and we will. In Ireland and England we are used to having a high quality pitch and the pitch we will train on in Poland is of a very good quality.
“It will have more work done on it before we arrive so that it is right for us. We don’t want a pitch with holes or one that is very hard because that can cause an injury.
“The training facilities and the hotel are very, very good. Everything is close together and of a high standard and good for the team which is important. There will be no excuses.”
Trapattoni and Tardelli have yet to decide on a venue for a pre-tournament training camp at the end of May, with the Montecatini facility near Florence still on the agenda.
“We have drawn Italy in the tournament but that won’t stop us going to Florence if that if what we feel is right,” said Tardelli.
“We are looking at it and so are the association. The facilities there are excellent ad we have a bit more time to decide on that.”
Former Italian international and under-21 team boss Tardelli is also adamant that he will have no problem if Ireland do a number on his native land in Poland next June.
“I am a proud Italian and love my country, but I have been Irish for almost four years now and I will be Irish again next summer,” he insisted.
“In my time here I have done everything I can to get the right result for Ireland against Italy, and it will be the same in that game. Ireland’s interests are always put first.
“Of course this is an emotional draw for me and for Giovanni. We have a proud association with the Italian team but we have already played them three times.
“If we have to beat them then we will do our best to beat them. It will be the same against Croatia in the important opening game and also against Spain in the second match.
“Italy are strong, Croatia are strong. Spain are the world champions with a big reputation but in football there is always going to be someone who beats the world champions.
“I am not saying it is going to happen but in football two plus two more often equals three or five than four.”
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