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Trapattoni calls for belief, Spain ponder options

PTI 13 Jun 2012, 21:29:21 IST
Gdansk (Poland), Jun 13: Ireland's veteran coach Giovanni Trapattoni has said his team must show belief against defending champions Spain tomorrow as the Irish fight to keep their Euro 2012 dreams alive.

Having suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia in their opening Group C game on Sunday, Ireland are looking at an almost certain early exit unless they can get something from their game with the world champions in Gdansk.

The Irish are making only their second appearance at a European championship and Trapattoni says his team must concentrate and show belief if they are to avoid exiting after the group stages, as they did back in 1988.

“We have another 90 minutes coming. We have to believe.  Every game in this Euro could be a surprise. We have to believe this,” he said.

It has been a decade since the 2002 World Cup, the last time an Irish team appeared at a major finals - they exited in the second round beaten in a penalty shootout by the Spaniards - but Trapattoni's team now have their work cut out as they face Spain, followed by Italy, who drew 1-1 here on Sunday.

Having taken charge of Ireland in 2008, the 73-year-old Trapattoni has acquired cult status in Ireland having produced such gems as ‘I am not Jesus Christ, I cannot work miracles!' during his reign.

Certainly an Irish win over Spain would be little less than miraculous.

Trapattoni is coming under pressure from the Irish media to blood in-form Sunderland wing James McClean who only made his debut in May's friendly win against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Having played a 4-3-3 formation against Italy with Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas up front, Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque must decide whether to give striker Fernando Torres another chance after he impressed from the bench against Italy.