The Republic of Ireland's management team have told their players to remove the fear factor about taking on the reigning world champions Italy on their own turf, instead stressing that the location of this game shows there is trepidation on the other side. "It's a good sign we're playing in Bari, because when the Italians know they have a very difficult match, they take it down south," said the assistant manager, Liam Brady, yesterday.
Indeed, Brady is anticipating a cagey display from the Azzurri in Bari tomorrow evening believing that they might approach the game in the manner which the Irish viewed last Saturday's visit of Bulgaria.
"From my experience, the Italians never really go for it. They'll look at the group, and might see it a bit like we did against Bulgaria when not losing was absolutely vital."