Giovanni Trapattoni has said he would like to continue as manager of the Republic of Ireland and overcome the disappointment of this week by leading the team to the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
Irish hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2012 were high a week ago, but defeats against Croatia and Spain have left the Boys in Green out of the running for a top-two finish in Group C. However, Trapattoni, who has another two years left on his contract, explained how he remains determined to succeed in the World Cup qualifiers which begin in September.
"My enthusiasm is as great as it ever was," he said. "I believe in this team, their pride, their passion. They have done so well to qualify for these finals. And I am so proud to be their manager. Sure, the results this week have been disappointing. The early goals in each game psychologically hurt us and all tactics, all game plans went out the window then. But that does not stop me from being so proud of these players for getting here."
Three of those players – Shay Given, Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne – said they would spend the summer considering their international futures but Trapattoni is still hopeful they will stay on. "None of them have come to my room to speak about their plans or about retiring," said the 73-year-old.
In the meantime, the coach is drawing up plans to face his native Italy on Monday in Ireland's final Group C game of UEFA EURO 2012. While there is the possibility of replacing tired legs with fresher, younger ones, Trapattoni is unlikely to make too much alterations to his lineup.
"There will be some changes," he said. "Some but not too much because we respect Croatia and Spain and we will be aiming to get a result for us firstly, and them, secondly. You have to back the guys who got us here. They have proven to be very good players. It is a huge achievement for a country with such a small population as Ireland to reach a major finals. I'm proud of them and you could see by the way the Irish supporters were cheering that they have the support of the public."
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