Former German international Dietmar Hamann has said that he is not surprised at Giovanni Trapattoni's achievement of leading the Republic of Ireland to a major finals.
Hamann, who played Trapattoni at Bayern Munich, spoke to RTÉ in an interview to be broadcast on Sport at 7 on Radio 1 this evening.
The part that Giovanni Trapattoni played in shaping the German's early career is given much expression, together with the impact the Italian has made in engendering a strong team ethic among the Republic of Ireland side.
Hamann explained to RTÉ's Damien O'Meara: "Trapattoni is an absolute gentlemen. He had a major impact on myself and other players at Bayern Munich. We had a very young team when he came to the football club in 1994 and he improved us greatly.
"I would not have had the career I had if I had not worked with him for three years at a young age. When he left in 1998, the Bayern team were just about to embark on a run which took them to the Champions League final.
"We weren’t successful on that occasion, but two years later we did take home the trophy and a lot of players who were on that side were coached by Trapattoni.
"He deserves a lot of credit for that, for if he hadn’t been there I’m not sure whether Bayern would have won in 2001."
Hamman is equally fulsome in his praise for the way the Italian has guided the fortunes of the Republic since his arrival in February 2008.
He added: "After the heartache of the World Cup play-off defeat in Paris, it would have been easy to throw in the towel and say it’s not meant to be.
"However, the squad has responded magnificently and it’s quite clear that he has a good relationship with the players he has to work with.
"The Republic’s biggest strength is their togetherness and you can see that when they play. The advantage they have over other teams is that they know their roles.
"There are no egos in the squad, just a strong work ethic. I know they have a tough group in Euro 2012, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make the quarter-finals."
Dietmar Hamann will sign copies of his new book "The Didi Man: My love affair with Liverpool" in Eason's in O'Connell Steet in Dublin tomorrow at 12:30pm.