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Italy looking to avoid Irish Trap

sports Updated: Jun 18, 2012 01:39 IST


Giovanni Trapat-toni may be a proud Italian but he knows he has a professional duty as Ireland coach to try his hardest to deny Italy a passage into the Euro 2012 quarterfinals on Monday.

Italian media is obsessed with fears Spain and Croatia will play out a 2-2 draw in the other Group C game and knock out the Azzurri even if they beat the Irish in Poznan.

Such is 73-year-old Trapatto-ni's standing in the game, though, that no one is questioning his loyalties. Ireland have been after two heavy Group C defeats and Monday’s swansong could be the last major tournament appearance for 31-year-old Robbie Keane, who will not want to bow out with a whimper.

Trapattoni, who managed Italy at Euro 2004 when they suspected a never-proved fix when Denmark and Sweden drew 2-2 to eliminate them, will make sure his troops are motivated despite only having pride to play for.

"It would not be fair if I did not select my best team," said Trapattoni.

Italy changes
A victory would be enough for Italy to reach the quarter-finals in second place if Spain or Croatia win the other match.

However, an Italy win and a draw in the Spain game makes the situation complicated because all three teams would then be level on five points and head-to-head results come into play. A 'mini-league' between the three would be the deciding factor, with Italy having drawn 1-1 with both.

A 0-0 draw between Spain and Croatia means Italy would go through with a win while a 1-1 draw would bring group goal difference into play. A scoring draw of 2-2 or higher between Spain and Croatia, though, and Italy are out whatever they do.

Prandelli is set to make changes with forward Mario Balotelli possibly being replaced by Antonio Di Natale.

Given hits back
DONETSK: Shay Given has hit back at Roy Keane over his criticism of the Republic of Ireland's mentality, telling the former captain that the team's Euro 2012 exit was not down to any lack of professionalism or belief.

One feature of the evening at the Arena Gdansk was the unwavering vocal backing from the Ireland support, who filled three-quarters of the stadium. In the closing minutes, they united in stirring song. Keane, though, was irritated at what he described as Ireland's "only here for the sing-song" attitude.

Given said that Ireland had not been good enough. "I'm sure the fans have done that (come for the sing-song) but the players certainly haven't," Given said.