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Del Bosque: Ireland can challenge Spain

Published: Wednesday 13 June 2012, 21.45CET
Spain are expected to end the Republic of Ireland's hopes with victory in Gdansk but Vicente del Bosque says their opponents can "do a lot more than just defend".
by Paul Bryan
from Gdansk
Del Bosque: Ireland can challenge Spain
Vicente del Bosque faces the media on Wednesday ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

SpainRepublic of Ireland

Goals scored12
 
1
Total attempts92
 
25
Attempts on target58
 
11
Attempts off target34
 
14
Attempts blocked18
 
3
Attempts against woodwork0
 
0
Corners43
 
8
Offsides21
 
10
Yellow cards11
 
8
Red Cards0
1
Fouls committed81
 
51
Fouls suffered102
 
42

Media services

 
Published: Wednesday 13 June 2012, 21.45CET

Del Bosque: Ireland can challenge Spain

Spain are expected to end the Republic of Ireland's hopes with victory in Gdansk but Vicente del Bosque says their opponents can "do a lot more than just defend".

Hoping to see his team build on their 1-1 draw against Italy, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque warned them against the dangers he believes they will face on Thursday against a Republic of Ireland side "who know how to do a lot more than just defend".

While Spain took a point from their UEFA EURO 2012 Group C opener in Gdansk, Ireland marked their first finals appearance since 1988 with a 3-1 loss to Croatia. Expectation is therefore high among the Spanish fans but Del Bosque was keen to urge caution.

"I am worried about every aspect of our opponents," said the coach who guided Spain to victory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. "Ireland have more than just one threat. They have tall, strong players and are dangerous on the wings. Their attackers also offer a lot. We are going to have difficulties in this game as in any other but we hope to be able to combat those difficulties."

Unlike Ireland, La Roja maintained an impressive record of competitive games without defeat in their first match here and they will look to increase that run to 16. "We could win, lose or draw as this is sport," Del Bosque said. "What I do know, however, is that we have our spirits intact and are ready for this game."

His counterpart Giovanni Trapattoni, meanwhile, once again drew on Chelsea FC's recent UEFA Champions League triumph as the key source of inspiration for his Republic of Ireland players as they prepare for their crucial Group C meeting with Spain in Gdansk. Indeed he sounded a note of optimism, saying: "I think we can win, why not?"

Trapattoni, whose team will be out if they lose, added: "We know it will be hard as Spain are the top team and have very important players. But look at the last Champions League final where Bayern München were favourites, had [20] corners to Chelsea's one, and yet didn't win the trophy. It shows you that in football anything is possible."

Visibly down after seeing a 14-match unbeaten run come to an end against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday, Ireland – according to Trapattoni – have recovered morale and are eager to commence what will be a 25th meeting between these teams. "Psychologically we have overcome the effects of our last game," he said. "In our latest training sessions I have seen the same enthusiasm as before.”

With a fully-fit squad to choose from, he must decide on whether to retain his favoured 4-4-2 formation or revert to a 4-5-1 in order to combat the Spanish threat in midfield. "It will be important to deprive Spain of space, especially in the middle," Trapattoni said. "Our objective is to be offensive but at the same time we also need to find a way to control the midfield. We have hope."

Last updated: 14/06/12 11.59CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1730413.html#del+bosques+ireland+worry

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