Marco Tardelli has dismissed any suggestion that the Republic of Ireland will settle for a draw against Germany, insisting that they will go for the win to give their hopes of World Cup qualification a boost.
Giovanni Trapattoni is taking an injury hit squad into the tie and could be forgiven for lowering his expectations to merely making life difficult for Joachim Loew’s side. A draw in Friday night’s showdown in the Aviva Stadium would see the Republic of Ireland emerge with a valuable Group C point.
Despite the difficulties as they prepare to take on the second placed team in Fifa’s world rankings, assistant manager Tardelli is adamant they will adopt the same approach they always do. Asked if he would be happy with settling for a draw, the Italian said, “We will try to win, it’s normal for us. If we can win against Germany, it will be important for the team and for the country. But a draw? I don’t know. It is better to wait.”
“The Germans are a strong team, they are very quick and they play very well with their wingers because they cut in with their strikers. We know that Germany is a very good team and we have many problems, but we need to believe it’s possible to play against all teams.”
Loew has his own injury worries after the withdrawals of Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Lars Bender after initially excluding Julian Draxler from selection because of a broken arm. However, Trapattoni’s problems are even more severe with first team regulars Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Glenn Whelan, James McClean and Kevin Doyle all out and Shay Given and Damien Duff having announced their retirements from international football.
The 73-year-old Italian has little choice but to reshuffle his personnel, but Tardelli also confirmed what the manager had previously hinted at, that he will field a three-man midfield against the Germans, something he was likely to have done even if stalwart Whelan had been fit.
When questioned on how he was going to combat the threat of the free-roving Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil, he said, “We put three midfielders on the pitch and one midfielder is for Ozil. We need to change something against Germany because the Germans are a very strong team and play 4-3-3. Maybe it’s possible to play 4-3-3.”
Midfielder Keith Andrews is likely to return from the suspension which kept him out of the 2-1 win over Kazakhstan last month and could be joined by Wigan’s midfield starlet James McCarthy. McCarthy is one of the men Trapattoni has touted as part of a new generation of players that can make their mark in the wake of the disappointment at the Euro 2012 finals.
That would appear to leave Keith Fahey and David Meyler competing for the remaining berth, although Tardelli was giving little away today saying, “I don’t know, we need to wait. We have two days to decide and during training, we will take the decision. Fahey has good experience and for Meyler, it is very early because it’s a very tough match and we need experienced players.”
The reshuffle continues in defence where Trapattoni must decide who to play at right back with John O’Shea likely to partner Darren O’Dea in central defence. Stephen Kelly, Paul McShane and Seamus Coleman are all competing for a place in the starting line-up, although it was Stephen Kelly who lined up at right back in training this morning.
Tardelli said, “We have many options and we will decide in training. The boss has a choice of Kelly or Coleman or McShane who will play.”
First-choice goalkeeper Keiren Westwood did not take part in the training session at Gannon Park on Tuesday morning with Tardelli confirming he was training in the gym, although he does not have a significant problem. Westwood is not currently getting game time at Sunderland, but the former Italy defender is confident that is not an issue.
“Many players don’t play in the Premier League, it’s a big problem for us. I started to work here in 2008 and it’s the same problem always. Westwood, when he has played with the national team, has always played very well . Maybe it is better to stay on the bench at his club and to play for us.”