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Giovanni Trapattoni buoyed by previous displays of 'great football'

Updated: Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 11:01 | Comments

Just two of the players that Giovanni Trapattoni picked to start in Ireland's final game of Euro 2012 against Italy have been named in the side to face Austria
Just two of the players that Giovanni Trapattoni picked to start in Ireland's final game of Euro 2012 against Italy have been named in the side to face Austria

Giovanni Trapattoni has insisted victory is all that matters for the Republic of Ireland in tonight's World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Ireland's away form has been exemplary under the 74-year-old Italian - they are yet to lose a qualifier on the road during his reign to date - but they have struggled to turn the dogged resilience which has served them so well on their travels into expansive football at the Aviva Stadium.

They head into tonight's game with renewed confidence after Friday night's 0-0 draw in Sweden, which kept alive their hopes of claiming second spot in Group C.

However, that point will count for little if they can’t add three more this evening, and while that may require a different approach, Trapattoni will not throw caution to the wind in the pursuit of a win.

He said: "I saw 20 games before I came to Ireland - I don't remember this 'show'.

"To remember the show, I must go back to Roy Keane and that great team. I played against this strong Ireland team.

"But for 24 years, we had been missing tournaments. I saw many games on DVD and I can't remember seeing this.

"Our team has produced this and we can win. Against France and against the teams in the first qualifying campaign, against Georgia, Montenegro and also Bulgaria, we played great football.

"Don't forget, we have played well in the past."

Trapattoni has never made any apologies for his concentration on substance rather than style, although he went into the game in Stockholm knowing defeat could have signalled the end of his tenure.

His pragmatism will come to the fore once again this evening when he employs striker Connor Sammon alongside Shane Long in the absence of injured skipper Robbie Keane, because he believes the Derby frontman will be better suited to the task of both extending the Austrian defence and closing them down in possession than the more creative Wes Hoolahan.

Provided that left-back Marc Wilson shakes off a groin injury, the Italian's starting XI will see only one further change with Glenn Whelan returning in place of Paul Green.

That will mean only two of the men who started the final Euro 2012 game against Italy in Poznan will remain, largely as a result of retirements and injuries.

Whelan is one, and the other is Sunderland defender John O'Shea, whose experience among so many youngsters could prove vital.

Trapattoni said: "He has personality whether plays right-back or centre-half. He plays always in first team of a Premier League club and has played many games.

"He can also play right-back, but at this moment he will stay at centre-half, where his experience as defender now is important as we missing Richard Dunne."

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