Upbeat Irish say loss will bring out their best


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The Independent Online

It's the moments after Ireland's defeat to Croatia and there is a flatness in the dressing room. Barely anyone is speaking. It could not have been more different at the team's training camp yesterday. Almost everyone wanted to speak. All had the same message: that the disappointment has fired the team.

Because, if the mood around the camp ahead of the Croatia game was about readiness, this week it is one of redemption. As assistant manager Marco Tardelli says, "the players know it's the last chance".

Shay Given, below, struck a similar note. "We can't change what happened [against Croatia]. We can change what happens against Spain. We've got to look forward because Croatia has gone."

The goalkeeper also pointed to rallied responses from the team in the past, not least the performance in the 2009 play-off in Paris after they had lost the first leg 1-0.

"We hope this situation will bring the best out of us... sometimes in the past when everyone has given up on us, we've come out fighting and proved we're a decent team. We have to do that again."

Tardelli, meanwhile, had an interesting description for Ireland's situation: "Cinderella." But, while there is an obvious joke here about Ireland not seeing much of the ball tomorrow, Tardelli insisted no extensive makeover is needed to ensure they do not have to leave the party early.

"We need to see the performance and not the defeat because we conceded three goals in a strange way," Tardelli said. "In that game, we were very unlucky. We played a good match."

With many observers shocked at the sloppiness of a team that had come into the tournament with one of the best defensive records of all its competitors, Given agreed with Tardelli that they were simple aberrations.

"It wasn't like us at all and nor were the goals we conceded. Two were from corners and the other one was from a cross. We're usually more solid than that."

As Tardelli said, "it was the little situations [that defeated us]". As such, there are unlikely to be big changes. If the rumblings from the camp are to be taken at face value, Trapattoni has almost made his decision. One of Jon Walters or Simon Cox will come in for Kevin Doyle in order to congest the midfield.