Trapattoni takes positives from watching Irish grow

Republic of Ireland coach admits Brazil's superiority but is pleased with side's progress
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The Independent Online

Giovanni Trapattoni believes his Republic of Ireland side are beginning to grow as a team after their 2-0 defeat to Brazil at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Irish missed out on a place at this summer's World Cup finals following their controversial play-off defeat to France, but produced a determined display against the five-time world champions to provide Trapattoni with many positives as they prepare for their European Championship campaign.

An own goal from the Blackburn Rovers midfielder Keith Andrews and a second-half strike from Manchester City striker Robinho, now on loan at Santos, sealed victory for Dunga's side.

"In my opinion this team is growing very well," Trapattoni said. "In the first half or maybe one hour, I had that confirmed because we played well.

"We had confidence and had more possibilities to shoot on goal. They finished the first half 1-0 in front and it gave them the opportunity to play for the result. They had the advantage and it gave them strength about their quality. The Brazil team is great technically and in the second half we made it too easy. I saw many positives in individual performances and we have built a good team.

"In the last 30 minutes Brazil dominated the game and it was not possible for us to get a draw. We made a couple of mistakes and I saw the team lose confidence. We gave them space and it was not easy for us."

Trapattoni insists Newcastle striker Leon Best must not be too disappointed that he was relegated to the bench last night, despite being named in the side on Monday. Best was selected after Robbie Keane pulled out with a knee injury on Sunday, but Keane reported for duty after telling Trapattoni he was fit enough to join the squad the following day.

"The day before, Keane had a problem with his knee," explained the Italian. "But he called me on Monday and said the knee was better. Nobody gives you anything for free. Leon Best is young and must improve."

Goalkeeper Shay Given, 33, insists he will re-assess his career after their European Championship campaign, but Trapattoni is convinced the Manchester City goalkeeper can continue playing for even longer.

"He needs only no injuries," said Trapattoni. "I think the mentality of Shay is fantastic and this is important.

"The great stars have this mentality and Shay works every day with the same mentality. I think he can play on for a long time."

Having experienced Brazil at first hand, Trapattoni has his own ideas as to which countries are best equipped to battle it out for the World Cup in South Africa this summer. "Do not forget Argentina or Spain," he added. "These teams have many great players. It is important they go to South Africa with all their squads in good condition. Brazil have the creative quality, they play to enjoy. Argentina are a little bit the same but the character is different. The finals are very hard and it depends on the nervous levels of players.

"Who thought Greece could win the European Championship? Nobody. But they did. In the World Cup you need good performances and some luck."

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