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Giovanni Trapattoni sticks with 'normal' starting XI for Croatia showdown

Updated: Saturday, 09 Jun 2012 23:22 | Comments

Trap has stuck with his trusted starting XI
Trap has stuck with his trusted starting XI

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Giovanni Trapattoni has named his ‘normal’ team for the Republic of Ireland’s opening Euro 2012 encounter against Croatia tomorrow evening, 7.45pm. 

As expected, the Italian has stuck with the starting XI that he favoured during the qualifying campaign.

Despite some injury concerns during the build-up, Shay Given is fit to start in goals, as is right-back John O’Shea.

Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger form the central defence and Stephen Ward is the left-back.

Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews will have the job of holding Luka Modric in midfield while Aiden McGeady and Damien Duff are on the wings.

Kevin Doyle will partner captain Robbie Keane in attack.

Republic of Ireland: Given, O'Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward, Duff, Andrews, Whelan, McGeady, Keane, Doyle.

Trapattoni said: "I have already chosen the team and fortunately, there were no injuries after the last training.

"I can say we are ready for this first match, and that this first match will be very, very tough.

"Robbie [Keane] has already said that the team feels like performing well and we will do everything in our power to get a good result."

Speaking in Italian, Trapattoni said he is confident of victory but knows football can be an unpredictable sport and the best-laid plans can go to waste.

He said: "The most important thing is what you feel. We all expect victory, of course, but the question is whether you can avoid mistakes. That is a huge concern because in each match, you want to avoid mistakes.

"This is something unpredictable and something unpredictable can happen in each match.

"You can prepare for a match in the best way you can, but I always watch matches and I prepare very well, and then there are unpredictable situations.

"In each circumstance, the Irish nation is confident about this team. They fully believe in us.

"We are really confident, but we have to be aware of that unpredictability."

He laid out the reasons why tomorrow's opening game is of such crucial importance to Ireland, with momentum being the main one.

He said: "The first match is critical and there are some reasons why it is so critical.

"Sometimes, the preparations are not the best. There are some nations who have played until the end of May, so most of them have to recuperate some injuries.

"The second aspect is enthusiasm and the creativity of the team.

"Of course, if you win the first match, you get momentum and enthusiasm and in this way, you can avoid maybe criticism and you are still confident and maybe you can reach your goal."

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