England v Republic of Ireland: Giovanni Trapattoni hoping for another victorious visit to Wembley

The sides meet tonight in a friendly match

It is half a century since Giovanni Trapattoni first walked out at Wembley. His job that day was to mark Eusebio, the best player in Europe; Trapattoni did as instructed and Milan won the European Cup. Fifty years down the line he is still doing his job, as efficient off the pitch as he was on it, and at the age of 74 still bubbling with an enthusiasm for the game that has occupied his life.

At the end of a season that has seen Sir Alex Ferguson call it a day aged 71, Trapattoni shows no sign of following suit. He trotted energetically out on to the Wembley turf again to take training having held court to the media with such passion that his flailing arms had his translator ducking for cover.

"I played against Pele, Eusebio – I didn't think about them as big players," said Trapattoni outlining how his players must approach if they are to succeed against his "good friend" Roy Hodgson's side. "I won the first European Cup for Milan against Benfica. We need to think all is possible in football."

Trapattoni has been in charge of Ireland for five years. Only Joachim Löw and Denmark's Morten Olsen, himself 63, have been at the helm of major European national sides for longer. It is no longer a secure tenancy – there have been calls for him to step down during a World Cup qualifying campaign that has included a 6-1 home defeat by Löw's Germans. But he is going nowhere, not while qualification for Brazil remains possible.

With that aim, this game, for all its emotional baggage, is for the Italian the most glorified of warm-ups for a home qualifier against the Faroe Islands on 7 June. Ireland play another friendly against Georgia and, post-Faroes, travel to the US for a friendly with Spain, but beating the Islanders matters the most in the struggle with Austria and Sweden to secure the runners-up spot behind Germany.

"Our aim is about the Faroes," said Trapattoni, an opinion seconded by his captain Robbie Keane. "I have to preserve the energy for the Faroes."

Keane, who arrived in London fresh from a hat-trick for LA Galaxy, will partner Shane Long in attack for the first such fixture since the abandoned match in 1995. Keane, aged 14, was at Lansdowne Road that night.

"It was the first time I've seen anything like that," he said. "It wasn't nice. I think in every aspect we have moved on. It's time to put everything that happened to bed."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy