Giovanni Trapattoni’s mobile bill is set to soar this summer as he’ll need to name a bumper Irish panel to cater for a gruelling four matches in two weeks. There’s sure to be room for squad hopefuls and possible recalls as Ireland prepare for a historic meeting with England in Wembley, a World Cup qualifier, and a reunion with Spain in New York.
Ireland’s clash with the World and European champions Spain in Yankee Stadium will be a fourth game in 14 days. First up, however, is a trip to Wembley for a first meeting with England since the infamous Lansdowne Road riots in 1995.
The friendly is taking place to mark the 150th anniversary of the FA. England will travel to Rio four days later to face Brazil while Ireland will play Georgia in an Aviva Stadium friendly in preparation for a key World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands.
The June 7th Dublin clash should be the priority, of course. Ireland need to post up a big score to improve their goal difference on the same night Austria and Sweden meet in Vienna.
In five games in Group C, Ireland have scored nine times but have conceded 10. We’ve already faced the Faroes away from home and even there, our defence was breached when we came through with a 4-1 win. Though Ireland are level on 8 points with Austria and Sweden, the Swedes have a game in hand and Austria are ahead on goal difference helped by a 6-0 win over the islanders.
On June 11th, Ireland cross the Atlantic to take on Spain at Yankee Stadium, New York. In truth, Trapattoni’s Republic have not recovered from their performances at Euro 2012 in Poland including a humiliating 4-0 defeat to the champions. The new-look Irish side who produced vast improvements against Sweden and Austria will be tested to the limit as Spain use the game as a warm-up for the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
It was Paul Green’s introduction against Vincente del Bosque’s side in Gdansk last June that raised the ire of Darron Gibson. The Everton midfielder has refused to answer a call-up to the Irish squad since last summer and reportedly had to be prevented from walking out of the Irish camp in the wake of the Spanish defeat.
A year on, and Paul Green’s performance in Stockholm last month has silenced many of his critics. Trapattoni will need to uitilise plenty of Irish resources for the four games and he has tried on a couple of occasions to mend bridges with Gibson. Could the Derryman be set for a reunion?
Supporters have been pleasantly surprised by the displays in Ireland’s last two outings but Austria’s late sucker-punch has maintained the negative atmosphere around the manager. Regardless, Irish fans will demand a performance in London against the old enemy at the end of May. The traditional squad withdrawals at that time of year will be watched with interest. With a World Cup qualifier sandwiched between Wembley and a glamour fixture with Spain, and plenty of younger squad members keen to impress, it’s likely that Trapattoni’s call will be answered with what he so often says in his post-match interviews is a key quality of his players, ‘enthusiasm.’
England vs Republic of Ireland, Wembley, (May 29),
Republic of Ireland vs Georgia, Aviva Stadium, (June 2)
Republic of Ireland vs Faroe Islands, Aviva Stadium, (June 7)
Spain vs Republic of Ireland, Yankee Stadium, (June 11)