Republic of Ireland 1 Serbia 1: Trapattoni optimistic after first week with the Irish

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The Independent Online

Giovanni Trapattoni will plan for the World Cup qualifying campaign confident that his message is getting across to his players.

A little more than a week after starting work with his Republic of Ireland squad, the 69-year-old Italian saw them battle their way to a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Serbia here on Saturday night. But more importantly, he saw the first signs that the work he has done with them on the training pitch is starting to pay dividends.

Trapattoni will look for more of the same from Thursday's friendly against Colombia at Craven Cottage as he attempts to establish a momentum ahead of tough qualifiers in Georgia and Montenegro in September. However, the evidence of his first get-together with the bulk of the players he hopes will take him to South Africa in 2010 has given him cause for optimism.

"I am always optimistic," he said, "because good team organisation always eliminates any error or small details which may have caused the team to lose in the past. We demonstrated that we are a compact team, a tight team, and the younger players will only grow by playing."

Trapattoni intends to make only a handful of changes for the Colombia game – central defenders Paul McShane and Richard Dunne and striker Daryl Murphy suffered knocks against Serbia but are expected to be fit, while John O'Shea and Aiden McGeady will be assessed after their late arrivals in Dublin.

One of those hoping to force his way into Trapattoni's plans for Craven Cottage is striker Andy Keogh, whose first senior goal for his country secured the draw with Serbia after he came off the bench with just nine minutes to go.

The 22-year-old Wolves striker has impressed Trapattoni. The manager said: "He has excellent qualities. In the games, you probably don't see all the qualities because you are focusing on his goals. He foresees the game. He is only 22 and he certainly needs to put some weight on, but he is a very creative player."

Goals: Pantelic 1-0 (75); Keogh 1-1 (90). Republic of Ireland: Kiely, Kelly, Dunne, McShane, Delaney, Duff, Miller, Whelan, Hunt (Keogh 81), Keane (Daryl Murphy 70), Doyle (Long 86). Substitutes not used: Joe Murphy, O'Shea, McPhail, Scannell, Foley, Hoolahan, Westwood, Bruce, Garvan.

Serbia : Stojkovic, Rukavina, Ivanovic, Rajkovic, Dragutinovic, Lola (Kovacevic 90), Kuzmanovic, Jankovic, Babovic (Markovic 81), Ilic (Kacar 86), Lazovic (Pantelic 70). Substitutes not used: Kahriman, Kolarov, Vidic, Zigic, Despotovic.

Referee: Lee Evans (Wales).

Booked: Serbia Lazovic, Kuzmanovic, Ivanovic, Dragutinovic.

Attendance: 42,500.

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