Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trapattoni urges belief in Irish team

Giovanni Trapattoni urged his Ireland players to believe in their ability after beating World Cup qualifiers Paraguay 2-1.

While Paraguay booked their ticket to South Africa with two games to spare, Ireland were denied a place at next month's finals in a controversial play-off with France.

Yet although the South Americans had already played three warm-up matches and bossed possession, they struggled to break down the Republic defence and the hosts were more incisive in attack.

Wolves striker Kevin Doyle headed a seventh-minute opener before Stoke midfielder Liam Lawrence fired home in the 39th minute.

And although Argentina-born striker Lucas Barrios marked his Paraguay debut with a 58th-minute strike, Ireland held on to claim an impressive success.

"I told the players before the game to remember three of our last four opponents - Italy, France and Brazil," Trapattoni told Sky Sports.

"We have to remember we are a good team because we played against these teams at a good level and I think they believed me.

"The first half I saw our team play with mentality, attitude and attention.

"Second half we must forget because some players have been on holiday. We had only two days together (before the game) so maybe second half we were down and missing some strength.

"The result was important but what was more important was our performance, and I think we deserved to win."

Trapattoni handed senior international debuts to Paul Green, Cillian Sheridan and Keith Fahey off the bench in the second half.

And they may feature more as Ireland aim to follow up the morale-boosting victory by claiming another World Cup scalp on Friday, with England's Group C opponents Algeria visiting the RDS Arena.

"For us, it's important we repeat the performance," added Trapattoni.

"I said before that maybe after just two days together we wouldn't have the same strength and the same condition.

"But I have confidence with the new players today, like Paul Green for the last 30 minutes, he played well.

"I think we must now think about a few new players (against Algeria)."

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