Ireland Manager Giovanni TrappatoniGoogle Images

Giovanni Trapattoni has turned into a soothsayer after the Republic's victory over Macedonia. The Ireland manager now says he has one nagging fear - and its not Russia or Slovakia.

"I am afraid only about injuries, because even if we have good options, it's always better to put your best players out," Trapattoni told the the Guardian. "With this attitude, I am sure, I am very, very confident that we can finish in first position. If the team is in good condition for Skopje, for example, I think that we have a very good opportunity to win. The team must believe in themselves."

Trapattoni and Ireland, thanks to an infamous foul by a man who should never be mentioned again, failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup but proved they were equal to anyone when their best players take to the pitch.

Trapattoni just hopes Ireland make it to Macedonia in reasonable shape.

"In my experience, players play in all the games and they risk getting to June and being empty," he said. "Damien Duff? I say, 'My God, look after him.' It would be great if we could get to Skopje in the same condition that we have now."

Watch this space.