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By ESPN Staff
Aug 20, 2008

Ireland boss Trappatoni has sympathy for Georgia

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has admitted he feels sympathy for World Cup opponents Georgia after they were forced to give up their home advantage.

The Italian was due to take his side to Tblisi on September 6 to open their qualifying campaign for South Africa 2010.

However, governing body FIFA ruled yesterday that, because of the ongoing political situation in the country, the game must be played at a neutral venue.

Trapattoni was happy the fixture had not been postponed, but sad for the Republic's first opponents.

He said: 'It is important to respect the calendar. It is important the teams play on September 6. It is important to continue the calendar.

'I am happy FIFA have decided this. I am sad for Georgia, but that is the situation.

'It is better that we go away with that calendar.'

The Georgian Football Federation have been given until next Wednesday to nominate an alternative venue, and until then, Trapattoni and his players will simply have to wait and see what happens.

He said: 'We will await the FIFA decision. It would have been very difficult for us to play in Georgia.

'For both teams, not only for us, the first game is very, very important.

'I am sad about the situation, but we cannot do anything about that.'

However, Trapattoni insisted the change of plan will not affect his preparations for the crucial game and the one which follows it in Montenegro four days later.

Speaking as he prepared his side for tonight's final warm-up fixture in Norway, he said: 'No, no, no. At the moment, I am looking only to get a strong squad.

'We have thought about Georgia, but in Italy, we start on the first course and then we continue eating the other courses.

'What is important today is today's match; Georgia comes on September 6.

'We will take one thing at a time.'

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