Italy manager Marcello Lippi has praised compatriot Giovanni Trapattoni’s influence on the Republic of Ireland side.
The two came head to head on April 1 in the World Cup qualifier in Bari, where Ireland recorded a creditable 1-1 draw against the world champions.
Lippi was effusive in his praise of Trapattoni, who he succeeded as Italy boss in 2004.
"You can see the hand, the foot and the head of 'Il Trap' at work in this [Republic of Ireland] side,” he told World Soccer.
“They are a team full of enthusiasm, a team with some very good players, guys like Aiden McGeady and Damien Duff on the flanks.
“This is a side full of physically strong players, like the center forward Kevin Doyle. All in all, this is a good side that merits plenty of respect."
Lippi feels that the success of Trapattoni and Fabio Capello with England is a vindication of Italian coaching methods.
"For so long, the Anglo-Saxon world has looked down its nose at Italian football and tended to jeer us and yet, just look, the current coach of England is an Italian while you have Trapattoni in Ireland,” he continue.
"I think that speaks for itself."