Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Captain Keane credits 'Il Trap' for Irish rebirth
by Ridge Mahoney, June 10th, 2012 3:22AM

TAGS:  italy


Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, Ireland’s all-time leading scorer, will captain the team Sunday when it opens the European Championship against Croatia.

An estimated 20,000 fans are in Poznan for the game, and Keane credits Ireland's 73-year-old Italian coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, with building support behind the team.

“The job the manager has done has been great,” says Keane. “We’re a small country [population 4.5 million] and we came really close the past few years, like in France where we did well to win the game. We don’t need to talk about what happened after that, but we’ve been close.”

France eliminated Ireland in the 2010 World Cup playoffs with the help of a goal created when Thierry Henry handled the ball, but Trapattoni stayed with the team despite his age.

Trapattoni has coached AC Milan, Fiorentina, Juventus and Cagliari in his native country as well as in Portugal, Germany and Austria. He was Italy’s coach from 2000 to 2004 and though his appointment by the Irish soccer federation was regarded by some as a strange one, he was born on St. Patrick’s Day.

"Every goal I face is a challenge. I still have the same determination, the same concentration and the same attention to detail," Trapattoni said. “I'm really grateful to the Irish people because they believe in us -- they believe in what we've done."

Trapattoni says it's important his players appreciate the support they have.

"I repeat always," he said, "you must be proud about our country, our people, because they make a very big sacrifice -- the money, the travel, the trip. The players know this. All players before the training, I repeated this to them. Our country expects, our supporters expect. Football is about the 90 minutes, but it’s important that we guarantee our people total and complete commitment.”

Keane is eager to see how the presence of Irish brightens the tournament and if they can add a bit of push to Ireland’s longshot ambitions to advance.

“To have a manager like we have, with the places he’s been and the experience he has, he’s completely changed the atmosphere of the whole country with the way he [carries] himself,” says Keane. “It’s great for the team that we’re back in a major tournament because everybody loves to see the Irish fans covering the town.”

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Confidential
Breaking down Sunday's Red Bulls-Crew MLS playoff game    
Nine times this season the Red Bulls have won a regular-season game that will be good ...
Fire go outside the box to hire Paunovic    
One season with the Philadelphia Union is the full extend of Veljko Paunovic's MLS experience, yet ...
It's time to give pro/rel a rest    
In retirement, Landon Donovan, it seems, has too much time on his hands. If you follow ...
Breaking down Sunday's Timbers-FC Dallas MLS playoff game    
FC Dallas and Portland,MLS rivals for just five seasons, form one of the league's more intriguing ...
Breaking down Sunday's Crew-Red Bulls MLS playoff game    
Both legs of the Eastern Conference finals between Columbus and New York are sold out, which ...
Replacing Klinsmann is the lower-risk option: Time for a fresh start    
First of all, throw out of any equation to rate Jurgen Klinsmann's job performance the USA's ...
Andres Cantor on Hispanic support for the USA, MLS, women's game and his toughest assignment    
Andres Cantor has inked a multi-year contract extension with Telemundo, which sets him up to do ...
Round one points out higher price of semifinal results in Concacaf World Cup qualifying     
Honduras and Panama suffered costly defeats as the semifinal round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying got ...
Stuart Holden on the national team, soccer camps, retirement and, yes, Jonny Evans    
Stuart Holden is at the crossroads in his soccer career. He represented the USA at the ...
Chicharito's good start in Germany bodes badly for USA    
American fans concerned about their team and its rivalry with Mexico have another reason to worry: ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives