/ Euro 2012

Kelly's Eye on Euro 2012

Updated: Saturday, 16 Jun 2012 18:07 | Comments

Fernando Torres bagged a brace as the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 dreams died in Gdansk
Fernando Torres bagged a brace as the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 dreams died in Gdansk

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There were strong and varied opinions from the Irish supporters on the streets of Sopot yesterday.

In the main, there seemed to be acceptance that a first-round exit at Euro 2012 was always the most likely scenario.

For a lot of the Irish fans in Poland, the games themselves formed part of a summer holiday break.

While the results have been a disappointment, anything other than two defeats to Croatia and Spain would have been a bonus.

Even the margin of those defeats hasn't dampened the mood overall. Spirits are understandably muted but, as we head into Ireland's final game of the campaign, the supporters can at least hope of an upbeat swansong to the campaign.

Giovanni Trapattoni now finds himself in somewhat of a quandary as he approaches the game with Italy. Finishing the tournament on a high is clearly the aim, but in terms of team selection for Poznan what should he do?

The Republic of Ireland are the only team in Group C that cannot reach the last eight, therefore he has to be seen to select what is regarded as his strongest available team.

That is clearly hard to define. The starting eleven against Croatia is generally accepted as his first-choice team, but he has to be entitled to make changes, even though that may now go down well in Spain and Croatia. Italy go into the game knowing that a win is a must but even then it may not be enough.

A 2-2 draw in the Spain v Croatia clash and both nations go through regardless of the result in the Italy v Republic of Ireland game. Eight years ago, Trapattoni was involved in a similar situation at Euro 2004. Denmark and Sweden needed a 2-2 draw in their final group game to eliminate Trapattoni's Italy, and 2-2 is how it finished.

The clamour for the inclusion of James McClean in an Ireland starting eleven at this tournament continues to grow. Damien Duff looks certain to start and will be winning his 100th cap. Trapattoni could decide to include McClean at the expense of Aiden McGeady, but I would be surprised if that was the case.

The final pre-match press conference takes place on Sunday evening, but Trapattoni could again decide to delay his team announcement until just before the game.

Trapatonni told us on Friday that he didn't sleep on Thursday night, or after any defeat, for that matter. At his media conference at the squad's Gydnia training base he quickly ruled out any suggestion that he may walk away from the job. He remains committed to his team and his project.

The media pack depart from Sopot in Saturday for Poznan and the final leg of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 campaign. The squad will have a morning workout in Gdynia before they themselves make the trip on Sunday morning.

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