Trapattoni upbeat despite draw
DUBLIN (AFP) –
Giovanni Trapattoni refused to write off Ireland’s World Cup hopes after they conceded a goal in injury time and had to settle for a 2-2 home draw with Austria.
The Italian admitted that the result was disappointing, but said it did not affect Ireland’s hopes of emerging from Group C.
Ireland remain fourth in the group on eight points, behind Sweden, and then Austria on goal difference, with Germany eight points clear after their 4-1 win over Kazakhstan.
Trapattoni’s men still have to travel to Austria and Germany, while Sweden come to Dublin in September for a clash that could decide the veteran manager’s future.
He dismissed any suggestions his future is in doubt after the draw in Dublin, replying simply “why?” to questions about his tenure.
“We are in the same place in the table as the game before, and I think we have the same possibility,” he argued, omitting the fact Sweden have one game in hand.
“Sweden are one point ahead so there is no change in the situation. There are five games to come, including a match against Austria, Sweden and Germany, so the qualifying starts again now,” added the 74-year-old Italian.
Ireland fans were stunned by the late equaliser from David Alaba, given they had fought back from the concession of an early goal by Martin Harnik to take the lead through two strikes from Stoke City forward Jon Walters.
While Marcel Koller threw caution to the wind, sending on strikers Marc Janko and Andi Weimann in search of a goal, Trapattoni brought on defensive midfielder Paul Green in place of the impressive Shane Long.
The Italian – who was considered fortunate to have kept his job after Ireland endured a miserable Euro 2012 exiting with no points and scoring just one goal in their three matches – believes it was not his tactical decision that was to blame, but the inexperience of his players.
“I’m not satisfied with this draw, but we just missed a little bit of experience in the end,” he argued.
“I changed things because our midfield was suffering, so I wanted to give us some strength with Paul (Green).
“That was enough. We just needed a little bit of experience in the corner, when we had a free kick (in Austria’s end).
“It’s not fair play to waste a bit of time, but in this experience..we lost the ball in midfield and then there was also a deflection for the goal.”
Amongst the excuses, Trapattoni conceded the Austrians deserved a draw, and their coach, Koller, was suitably happy when he faced the press post-match.
“It looked for a time like we’d go home empty handed again, even though we were the better team,” said 52-year-old Koller.
“I believe it was a very important for the morale of the team to get the late goal, to get that point that we needed.
“We don’t know what it means for the group yet. We haven’t played against Sweden yet, it will all depend on the match in Vienna in June.
“Whoever wants second place has to win against Sweden, so that has to happen home or away. We got our point here so now we have to do the same at home.”