Former Republic of Ireland manager John Giles says Giovanni Trapattoni’s side can still qualify for the World Cup in Brazil and is backing him to continue in charge.

After five games Ireland currently lie in fourth place in Group C, level on eight points with Austria and Sweden although the Swedes have a game in hand. Runaway leaders Germany have 16 points from six games.

Speaking on Premier Soccer Sunday, the RTÉ analyst said: “I think we can still qualify, believe it or not. [Against Austria and Sweden] we showed that with the younger players that came into the side, we could have beaten Sweden away, we could have beaten Austria at home.

“It’s even-steven when it comes to those [reverse] matches again and they should be the key matches.

“I think we can beat Sweden, and I do believe if we have to go to Austria to get a win, I think we can get a win. With the way Trapattoni sets it up, we’re not going to lose.

“Whenever we get in front, then it goes negative. In Paris [the 1-1 draw in the 2010 World Cup qualifier], when they played the best I’ve ever seen them play, we needed to win so there was a freedom about the players that they didn’t have in other matches.

“I think if we need to go to Austria and win, we’ll have that freedom again, and I think we could go on and win the match.

"So at the moment I would leave him and see what the results are the end of this campaign”

John Giles says Ireland can still qualify for Brazil 2014 and backs manager Giovanni Trapattoni

However, fellow pundit and ex-Ireland international Ronnie Whelan disagreed with Giles and called for the manager to go.

"His decision-making late on in the [2-2 Austria] game has finally convinced me that he has to go,” Whelan said.

“Because he took Shane Long off late in the game and left Conor Sammon on but at the time Shane Long was a threat to the Austrians.

“They started to come on at us more, we didn’t fill the midfield up and I thought if he can’t seem to make that decision, that I thought a lot of football people should be able to make or see, it’s time for him to move on.”