Marco Tardelli hails 'fantastic year' for Republic of Ireland

 

Marco Tardelli will reflect upon a “fantastic year” as the Republic of Ireland bring their 2012 campaign to a close against Greece on Wednesday evening.

Despite a poor showing at the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine, where they failed to collect a single point, and a 6-1 World Cup qualifier drubbing by Germany in Dublin last month, which left manager Giovanni Trapattoni fighting for his job, assistant boss Tardelli insists the last 12 months has had its successes.

Asked if it had been a tough year, the Italian said: "No, it's been fantastic. For me, it's been a fantastic year.

"We went to play in the European Championships, that was very important for us - it had been nearly 25 years since the Irish team had qualified.

"For me, it was a very good year. We discovered many players, many young players who are here with us, and when you have big change, then it's important to have patience.

"We know that if the younger players go on the pitch, it's possible to play very well one time, then twice very badly.

"But that's football, we know football."

The bulk of the squad met up at their Portmarnock base yesterday for the first time since an eventful 10 days in October which saw Trapattoni's critics round on him after the debacle against Germany.

Ireland turned in a dreadful performance at the Aviva Stadium as they were over-powered by Joachim Low's men, and in the aftermath, it was suggested that the 73-year-old Italian would be out of a job whatever happened in the Faroe Islands four days later.

In the event, the Republic won 4-1 in Torshavn and 24 hours later, the Football Association of Ireland released a statement confirming that Trapattoni would remain in his post.

Throughout all the drama and speculation, the man himself remained adamant that he was going nowhere, and immediately turned his attention to this week's friendly.

With skipper Robbie Keane having been left out to spare him the gruelling round-trip from Los Angeles - Sunderland's John O'Shea will take over the armband - and Aiden McGeady and Keith Fahey having withdrawn through injury and illness respectively, Trapattoni is likely to use the opportunity to further examine the depth of his squad.

The game may not have the intensity of the two Ireland played last month, but Tardelli believes whichever players are asked to take the field, they will be given a stern test with Celtic's Georgios Samaras, one of the heroes of last Wednesday night's 2-1 Champions League victory over the mighty Barcelona, in the Greek squad.

He said: "It's a very tough test. We know that Greece is a very good team, one that presses very hard.

"They have good players, like Samaras. We know Samaras, he played against Barcelona and he played well.

"It's a good test for us and a good test for the young players. For them, it's good to play in training but it's important to play also in tough matches."

Trapattoni's plans for the first game at the Aviva Stadium since the disaster against the Germans have been disrupted by injuries to striker Jonathan Walters and defender Paul McShane, although Tardelli revealed both have had scans which suggest they should be available for selection.

The manager has already indicated that Wigan midfielder James McCarthy may be given a chance, while in-form West Brom frontman Shane Long, who has found himself marginalised in recent games, could also figure, as could young wingers James McClean and Robbie Brady.

Of Long, Tardelli said: "Maybe it's possible he starts the first half, maybe.

"We know he is playing very well because we were there on Saturday and he played well. But also, the other players are playing very well.

"We will wait until Wednesday, but we can change some players as we want to understand these new players some more.

"We think they are good, but they must show us that they can stay with us."

The FAI later revealed that Walters had been ruled out of the Greece game with a knee injury and would return to Stoke for treatment.

No replacement has been called up.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?