INPHO/Donall Farmer
The Panel

Expert views: What chance have Ireland got?

We’re a good team, not a great team according to Bill and the boys.

The RTE panel outlines how they believe Trap’s Army will do in Poland next month.


“We definitely aren’t favourites to get out of the group but we have a chance.

“We are playing three fantastic teams but we will be hard to beat and that is something we can use to our advantage.

The system has worked, Trapattoni has got us there and I have great respect for what he has done. All you have to do is look at his CV and you can see he is a top class manager.

“Like all managers, you don’t agree with everything he does, but I hope no matter how we got there, that we do well in the Championships themselves.”


“We’re all fans at the end of the day. Giving possession away cheaply has happened so often in our qualifying game and I hope it won’t be a feature of this championship. We need to pass the ball when we win it and do ourselves justice as footballers.

“We know the other side of the game – winning back possession, giving everything we’ve got and being efficient at set-pieces. Richard Dunne and Shay Given are top players and I would like to see Robbie Keane, John O’Shea and Damien Duff get on the ball, pass it and play a little bit.

“Spain struggled to score goals at the last World Cup despite all the possession. They lost to Switzerland and we saw the job that Chelsea did on Barcelona with that defensive counter-attcking style. I wouldn’t say the Spain match is a lost cause.”


It would be an unbelievable achievement to progress to the knockout stages considering the group we’re in. There’s  the present world champions, Italy are always good tournament performers and Croatia have got some great players and I believe they will have a very good Euro 2012.

“That’s not to say it will be impossible to qualify but it will be an unbelievable achievement.

“With the spirit we’ve got in the Irish team, anything is possible but it’s improbable. If we can get something from the first game, it will give us the confidence to go close.”


“I think it is going to be very difficult. Ireland have qualified which is a fantastic achievement but nobody can argue they were a fantastic team in the process. Certain results went their way, Moscow was a classic example, but you can’t deny what they’ve achieved.

“Coming into a high-class tournament with very few weak teams and in the group we’re in, I think the prospects of getting out are very remote. I hope we do but I doubt it very much.

“Trapattoni believes in the system, but the system may not work at this stage. It clearly hasn’t worked against good teams and the sides we’re up against are good and could take us apart. Italy are the least likely to do so but you never know.


“Hopefully the opening game will go well because if it does it will extend our interest until the last game at least. If it doesn’t and we follow it up with a defeat against Spain, that would be a worse case scenario.

“Avoiding defeat in the first game is vital because it means we’ll still have a hope of qualifying up until the last game. It’s going to be difficult though and we should abandon Trapattoni’s mantra of just judging him on results. The quality of the opposition mean results alone won’t tell the full story.”


“I think it’s a realistic ask that we can get out of this group but we will have to be a little bit bolder in our approach than we had been during the qualifying campaign. If we are, then we can cause all three teams problems. Some are presuming that the Spain game is dead and buried but I don’t see it like that especially if we can play a high energy game.

“I won’t say the Italians are a shadow of themselves but they’re not as strong as they have been in past tournaments. It’s a wonderful opportunity if we can play to our maximum collectively as a group then we are certainly capable of progressing.”

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