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."

News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
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

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities