/ Euro 2012

Duff handed captaincy for 100th cap

Updated: Sunday, 17 Jun 2012 19:00 | Comments

Damien Duff has been handed the captain's armband to mark his 100th senior appearance for the Republic of Ireland
Damien Duff has been handed the captain's armband to mark his 100th senior appearance for the Republic of Ireland

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Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named the same starting line-up that began against Croatia for the side’s final Euro 2012 encounter against Italy at the Municpal Stadium in Poznan on Monday night.

Damien Duff will captain the side as he earns his 100th senior cap.

The 33-year-old winger, who made his international debut against the Czech Republic in March 1998, is one of just five players to reach the milestone figure.

Only record holder Shay Given, who has 124 caps, Robbie Keane on 119, Kevin Kilbane with 110 and Steven Staunton - who ended his career after 102 games for the Republic - have pulled on the green shirt more often.

The team shows one change from the side that started against Spain, with Kevin Doyle regaining his place at the expense of Simon Cox.

Republic of Ireland team to face Italy at the Municpal Stadium in Poznan, kick-off 7.45pm:

Team: Given; O'Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward; Duff (Capt), Whelan, Andrews, McGeady; Keane, Doyle.

Trapattoni said of Duff's captaincy: "You see beside Robbie Keane, Damien Duff. I am very happy, at Robbie Keane's request, to hand the captain's band to Damien Duff.

"Damien will celebrate his 100th cap in the match tomorrow. All of us express our gratitude to Damien. He is not only an excellent football player but a role model and example for future generations."

Trapattoni said he would stick with his first choice players because they have a "duty" to the fans and the country to get a result.

He was also hesitant about making changes in case it was perceived that he was favouring Italy by playing a weakened team.

He said: "After the defeats in the opening two matches in which we conceded in the first minutes of the game it is necessary to go back with same attitude, mentality commitment we had in the qualifying matches.

"Obviously, it is important to stay with 100% concentration and avoid this situation in the first minute. Against Italy we play for our honour and honour of the nation, which has supported us all the way.

"We all have a duty to do the best we can. Obviously we don't want to go home with another defeat. I will play same team that has brought us to qualification out of respect for my players."

In a press conference dominated by questions about the problems facing Cesare Prandelli's side, Trapattoni reiterated his view that he did not want to face homeland in such a crucial game.

He said: "Undoubtedly in terms of the draw I wanted to avoid Italy for psychological aspect and I didn't want to come in to a game that was decisive for us and them.

"I already highlighted that we have got to ask for respect for our players. We have got to show respect for country who applauded when it was 3-0 and 4-0 against Spain. We need to play our own game. It can show how good they are.

"I feel it is a difficult situation. I spent a lot of time abroad and know what football is all about. These are very important steps in a social aspect. This is why football is so great. Football offers great situations."

Trapattoni was then asked for his reaction to Roy Keane's criticism of the players' performance in the tournament so far.

In English, he responded: "Roy Keane has been a great player and had great success. I don't know if he achieved same results as coach or manager. I can ask him why. I think for intelligent man I can't understand it."

However, his answer in Italian, directed at Italian journalists was less diplomatic and roughly translates as "he's won nothing for f**k's sake".

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