Trap remains confident
Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni insists his increasingly depleted squad are capable of getting a result in the World Cup qualifier against Germany in Dublin on Friday, yet the scale of his task appears to be increasing by the day.
With veteran performers Shay Given and Damien Duff now retired from international duty, Trapattoni is being forced to contend with an injury crisis that has claimed Aston Villa's Richard Dunne, Sunderland's James McClean, Glenn Whelan of Stoke, Leicester's Sean St Ledger and Wolves striker Kevin Doyle.
It leaves the veteran Italian coach with limited options as he prepares to abandon his cherished 4-4-2 formation and play with a packed midfield against Jogi Loew's Group C favourites at the Aviva Stadium.
"We are missing five players, but I am confident about the quality we have," insisted the ever-optimistic 73-year-old coach, who has come under fire from a majority of the Irish media following his side's poor showing at Euro 2012 and last month's narrow victory against Kazakhstan.
"What we have are players who have grown a little bit in personality. I am optimistic because I know the German players, I know their attitude, their quality, but we also have a little bit of that quality and of course, we will have discipline.
"It's the start of the season and we have fresh energy. It's not March or April, so the players are fresh and will have energy. I have said to the players we must give 100% energy. Only with this can we confront Germany."
Trapattoni is expected to pick a side with captain Robbie Keane as his lone striker against Germany, despite calls for the veteran LA Galaxy star to be replaced by younger team-mates. But he maintains that Keane is his best option with the others likely to feature from the substitutes' bench.
"Robbie Keane has good personality and we need also a striker to keep the ball and use it to bring others into play," he added. "We have a good balance with our strikers. We have Shane Long, Jon Walters and Simon Cox, who has played many times wide. The substitutions will be very, very important in this game."