FAI to decide on Trapattoni future

11 September 2013 00:33

The Football Association of Ireland will review Giovanni Trapattoni’s position after their FIFA 2014 World Cup disappointment.

Trapattoni was already under significant pressure prior to the Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 defeat against Austria in Vienna on Tuesday, which was settled by a late strike from Bayern Munich’s David Alaba.

Ireland now sit six points behind second-place Sweden in Group C with two games to go, have an inferior goal difference to their rivals and face a trip to leaders Germany next month.

And while Trapattoni has made it clear that he will not be stepping down, the FAI plan to review his future this week.

An FAI statement read: “The recent results against Sweden and Austria were very disappointing for everyone involved in Irish football, the manager, the players and supporters.

“Our aim of qualification, although mathematically possible, is now highly unlikely even though the team will always do everything within their power to keep that hope alive.

“The FAI Board of Management will now consider the current position over the coming days.”

Trapattoni, who took charge of Ireland in 2008, told RTE following the Austria defeat: “For me it’s simple. I continue 100 per cent with the commitment.

“Obviously the FAI must now take the decision. I said (on Monday) that if they give me the opportunity to continue for the next campaign I’m sure this team can increase very much.

“But it will be for the other manager, maybe. It depends what they decide. I wait for the decision. Maybe they are ready for another manager, I don’t know.”

Trapattoni felt Ireland were unfortunate to come away from the Ernst Happel Stadion empty-handed.

“I think we played well in the first half, very well,” he added.

“In the second half we lose a bit of strength. Third position for us was the aim. It’s a pity.”

Ireland midfielder Paul Green cut a dejected figure when delivering his assessment of the game.

“Mathematically we can still qualify but it’s not looking the best to be honest,” he said.

“The game against Sweden (which Ireland lost 2-1 on Friday) was a massive result for us. Obviously it didn’t go our way and we just wanted to put on a show here. But we didn’t take our chances and a bit of quality from Alaba finished us off.

“We’ve given everything and it’s a bit of a sucker punch the lad scoring near the end.”

O´Neill furious after defeat

11 September 2013 00:29

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill blasted his players following their 3-2 defeat to Luxembourg in Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup qualifier.

O’Neill’s side had taken the lead through Martin Paterson in the 14th minute before Aurelien Joachim and Stefano Bensi struck for the hosts.

And although Gareth McAuley netted an equaliser with eight minutes to play, Mathias Janisch scored the winner three minutes from time.

O’Neill was furious with the effort shown by his players in the match and criticised their work rate.

“The performance was unacceptable,” O’Neill said.

“The energy and the work rate was not at the level required.

“It’s okay lifting it for Portugal and Russia but we needed that tonight. When we’re down gears we’re average.”

The defeat leaves Northern Ireland level with Luxembourg on six points from their eight Group F matches.

And O’Neill admitted his side got what their performance deserved on Tuesday.

“In these games when we’re expected to win, we need to bring the basic ingredients to win a football match,” he said.

“We didn’t manage the game well when we were on top and we didn’t deserve anything from the game.

“Luxembourg were the better team on the night.”

Van Gaal dampens World Cup expectation

11 September 2013 00:21

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has insisted he would be happy just to make it past the “first round” at the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

Van Gaal saw his side secure their spot at Brazil 2014 with a 2-0 win away to Andorra on Tuesday, topping Group D of UEFA’s qualifying section.

The Dutch struggled in the game, only breaking the deadlock in the second half, but Robin van Persie’s double ultimately proved to be enough after Romania were defeated by Turkey in Bucharest.

Netherlands have only failed to win one game in their campaign, Friday’s 2-2 draw against Estonia.

But Van Gaal has set low expectations for his side, insisting that he is not looking for them to replicate 2010’s run to the final in South Africa.

“There is now a World Cup and you have to perform well there,” he said.

“We have a very young team with a few older players, I hope we can get past the first round.”

Match-winner Van Persie echoed his manager’s sentiments, admitting that the side have plenty of work to be done before the tournament.

“We’ve qualified, that’s step one,” the Manchester United man said.

“Now we have to start working toward the World Cup.”

Del Bosque hails Navas performance

11 September 2013 00:20

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque hailed Jesus Navas after the substitute grabbed a late equaliser against Chile on Tuesday.

The Manchester City winger scored in stoppage time as Spain snatched a 2-2 friendly draw in Chile.

Eduardo Vargas had put Chile ahead twice in the match, but equalisers from Roberto Soldado and Navas earned Spain a point.

Del Bosque was aware how difficult winning in Chile would be and praised the influence of Navas, who came off the bench early in the second half.

“It was a tough one. A very difficult match, which we knew would be intense,” Del Bosque said.

“Chile were hurting us, but the entrance of Navas was the answer for us.”

Navas, who replaced Xavi when he side were 2-1 down, said that Spain’s 2-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Finland on Friday was more important.

But he was pleased with the fight his side showed, as they rounded off a good week with a fighting point.

“The important thing though was that we beat Finland last Friday and that’s what we managed to do,” Navas said.

“We knew what Chile were going to be like,” he continued.

“We knew they would have a great attitude going into this game.”

Spain lead Group I on goal difference from France, having played one match less than Didier Deschamps’ side.

Spain will finish their qualifying campaign with home fixtures against Belarus and Georgia.

Low looks for improvement

11 September 2013 00:18

Germany manager Joachim Low admitted there are things his side still need to work on after their 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands in Torshavn.

Goals from Per Mertesacker in the first half and Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller in the second handed the Germans a routine FIFA World Cup qualifying win on Tuesday.

Their hosts finished the game with 10 men following Atli Gregersen’s dismissal 15 minutes from time for the foul that led to Ozil’s goal from the penalty spot.

The result leaves Germany five points clear of Sweden at the top of group C with just two games remaining.

And Low admitted that the performance was of secondary importance to the result.

“It was a mandatory requirement to pick up three points here,” he said.

“It was the sort of game we had expected. They stood with 10 men in the penalty area, they are a team who know how to defend well.”

Germany dominated possession throughout the match as the Faroe Islands, ranked 175th in the world, struggled to make any impression on the German defence.

But Low felt there was room for improvement from his side.

“If there is anything to criticise, we have to work on our final touch,” he said.

“We didn’t move as well after the break as we had in the first half and we have to improve our game in the final third of the pitch.”