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Trapattoni's food for thought

Published: Tuesday 5 June 2012, 17.40CET
Known for his consistency in team selection, Giovanni Trapattoni is pondering change for the Republic of Ireland's UEFA EURO 2012 opener on Sunday against Croatia, says Garry Doyle.
by Garry Doyle
from Gdynia
 
Published: Tuesday 5 June 2012, 17.40CET

Trapattoni's food for thought

Known for his consistency in team selection, Giovanni Trapattoni is pondering change for the Republic of Ireland's UEFA EURO 2012 opener on Sunday against Croatia, says Garry Doyle.

As a 73-year old, Giovanni Trapattoni could be forgiven for being a creature of habit. In his four-year tenure in charge of the Republic of Ireland, he has certainly favoured consistency over experimentation in both team selection and tactical shape.

Yet following Monday's scoreless draw in Budapest, when Hungary found space between Ireland's two lines of four defenders and midfielders, Trapattoni accepted there was a possibility of change occurring ahead of Sunday's UEFA EURO 2012 opener against Croatia.

"Last night we were a little lucky because in the first half Hungary deserved to score twice, but Shay Given saved us," said Trapattoni. "Hungary played very well and quick, fast football. They are strong in every department.

"When we meet a team like this I know what is the difficulty, but we have a system I can't change for one game. To have a balance we have to give up one striker or put one more in midfield. So maybe we [will] change. I will speak with the team and show them our difficulty because we need to take a decision to sacrifice a striker.

©Getty Images

Kevin Doyle could make way if Trapattoni opts for change

"Croatia have another system, a little bit different to us and to Hungary. Spain always play with one striker and one in between. We have to decide what we will do. We need one more in midfield. It is clear that when your opponents have an extra man in midfield that you are forced to dance for 45 minutes."

Yet there is no dancing around the issue that if Trapattoni is forced to change his system then he will also have to alter his personnel, unless Robbie Keane, Ireland's top goalscorer, is redeployed in a much deeper, more creative role, which has not happened for Ireland since the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Italy in Bari.

That night was, by some distance, the most radical of Trapattoni's Ireland reign. Five positional switches throughout the game kept the Azzurri guessing and the end result was a credible 1-1 draw. Should he adopt a similar line of thinking again, one of his regulars, Keane but more likely Kevin Doyle, could draw the short straw and miss out.

With this in mind, this evening's training session in Gdynia, Ireland's first since arriving at their Polish base camp, will make for fascinating viewing.

Last updated: 28/06/12 14.53CET

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