A former Ireland international footballer has liked the Euro 2012 clash with Spain to Muhammad Ali fighting a dwarf.

One time Liverpool striker Michael Robinson is now the best known soccer pundit on Spanish television.

The Madrid based presenter, born in England, played 24 times and scored four goals for Ireland under managers Eoin Hand and Jack Charlton in the 80s.

But Robinson has infuriated Irish fans with his denouncement of their team and his poor-taste comments about dwarves.

He told the Irish Sun newspaper: “There’s no threat from Ireland, Ireland cannot win this match.

“It’s like Muhammad Ali fighting a dwarf. Ireland are going to try to be an irritating obstacle, but if Spain play at 80 per cent of their ability, they’ll thrash them.

“Ireland do what they can, I respect that. I think that football in Ireland is respectable because it’s honest. Football on the British Isles is a bit old fashioned, I’d like to see them try new things.

“They try and give their best, but it’s possible but trying their best isn’t enough to call it good football. It’s because they don’t wish to play good football, it’s because they don’t have the technical ability to do anything else.

“I’m supporting Spain. I hope Ireland go out of the tournament unscathed, that they play like gladiators. But I’ve lived in Spain longer than I’ve lived in England. Spain has given me so much.

And if I think about what’s best for football, I want beautiful football to prosper and be imitated.

“I really hope that Spain win this tournament because children need to watch Spain and focus on them. Spain have returned the emphasis on playing with the ball to football, it’s brilliant.”
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has promised to pay no attention to Robinson’s remark ahead of a game his team cannot afford to lose.

The Italian has broken with tradition and opted not to name his team to play Spain until just before kick-off on Thursday night.

There will be changes with Jonathon Walters set to come in for Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane to play on his own upfront.

Stephen Kelly could also replace Stephen Ward in another chance from the side hammered 3-1 by Croatia in the Euro 2012 opener last Sunday night.

Republic of Ireland soccer teamGoogle Images