Republic hope Tardelli dream comes true

PA Sport
Giovanni Trapattoni
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Giovanni Trapattoni

Giovanni Trapattoni is hoping assistant Marco Tardelli's Euro 2012 dream comes true.

The World Cup winner told an audience in Montecatini, with tongue slightly in cheek, that he thought the Republic of Ireland would draw with Croatia in their opening Group C fixture next Sunday night and then beat both reigning champions Spain and his native Italy to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Trapattoni, speaking at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium ahead of Monday night's final friendly against Hungary, said: "Marco is full of enthusiasm and dreams. But sometimes dreams come true. It is important we start with the first 90 minutes. After that, we can dream of continuing this way."

Skipper Robbie Keane too is keeping his fingers crossed that Tardelli has had some kind of premonition. He said: "I hope it's a dream that comes true, to be honest with you."

Trapattoni will field his strongest side against Hungary and has already said he is 90% certain that the men who start in Budapest will also do so in Poznan next Sunday, when the Croatians stand between the Republic and a winning opening to their campaign.

To that end, he was delighted to be able to name keeper Shay Given and defender John O'Shea in his starting line-up with both men having struggled for fitness over the last 10 days or so because of knee and ankle injuries respectively.

He said: "Tomorrow determines next week. Given is okay, but I was waiting for O'Shea. He has no injury, but he hasn't played with us. Until this game, I don't know if he is 100%. That is the test for him, and I'm sure now he is ready. After the game, hopefully we can say he is okay and is 100%."

However, Trapattoni has indicated he is likely to withdraw some of his key players before the final whistle, and O'Shea could be one of them.

He said: "Maybe not 90 minutes. Maybe it is good he gets just 70 minutes. It is no problem. I am thinking about Croatia."

O'Shea will line up ahead of Given in a defence which will also include Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger and Stephen Ward, with Damien Duff, Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan and Aiden McGeady in midfield and Keane and Kevin Doyle in attack.

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