Monday, March 16, 2009
Ireland squad announced for Bulgaria & Italy games
Giovanni Trapattoni has named 26 players in an initial squad for the forthcoming World Cup Group 8 qualifiers, of which 23 will be selected for the matches against Bulgaria on 28 March and Italy on 1 April.
The only addition to the party announced for last month's 2-1 win over Georgia is uncapped Celtic defender Darren O'Dea, who scored for his club in their CIS League Cup final victory over arch-rivals Rangers yesterday.
Speaking after he announced the squad, the Italian coach told reporters: 'So far in this group, Bulgaria have drawn all of their three World Cup qualifying matches. I have no doubt they will be invigorated by the appointment of their new manager, Stanimir Stoilov, and they will come to Croke Park looking for a win to kick-start their World Cup qualifying campaign.'
'Bulgaria have a strong tradition of football in their country with many well known players in their squad so we are under no illusion as to the task that awaits us on 28 March. This game represents a real opportunity to open a significant gap at the top of the table in Group 8.
For the next six months we will be playing away so strong support in this last home game until October will be vital. Every point gained will be valuable in the race to qualify for South Africa.'
Shay Given, Dean Kiely, Kieren Westwood
Alex Bruce, Damien Delaney, John O'Shea, Kevin Foley, Paul McShane, Richard Dunne, Stephen Kelly, Stephen Finnan, Kevin Kilbane & Darren O'Dea.
Aiden McGeady, Damien Duff, Darron Gibson, Glenn Whelan, Keith Andrews, Liam Miller, Stephen Hunt & Andy Keogh.
Caleb Folan, Kevin Doyle, Robbie Keane, Shane Long & Noel Hunt.