Soccer Scene

Preview: Italy - Republic of Ireland
World Cup Qualifier
01.04.2009 at 19:50 - San Nicola Stadium,Bari

Giovanni Trapattoni returns to his homeland when he leads Republic of Ireland against world champions Italy on Wednesday night.

Italian coach Trapattoni, 70, has impressed since he was handed the Republic post last year and his side are currently second in World Cup qualifying Group 8.

Italy lead the way by two points after they defeated Montenegro 2-0 while Ireland could only draw 1-1 with Bulgaria at Croke Park.

However, a shock victory for the visitors at the San Nicola Stadium in Bari would see Trapattoni's men leapfrog Marcello Lippi's Azzurri.

Wolves striker Andy Keogh is in line to replace Aiden McGeady on the right side of midfield after the latter suffered a knee injury at the weekend.

McGeady's absence means Trapattoni is without both his first-choice wingers after Damien Duff's departure with a hamstring injury.


Trapattoni is keeping his starting XI close to his chest, but skipper Robbie Keane, who had a brief spell in Italy with Inter Milan after being snapped up by Lippi earlier in his career, is almost certain to start.

World Cup-winning coach Lippi could hand a first start to striker Giampaolo Pazzini, while Giuseppe Rossi and Simone Pepe are also in contention.

Lippi is also confident the controversial exclusion of Bari-born striker Antonio Cassano will not affect the mood of the home support.

Robbie Keane believes World Cup qualifying Group Eight is still 'hanging in the balance' following Republic of Ireland's 1-1 draw with Italy on Wednesday.

Reigning champions Italy started as firm favourites to clinch qualification for next summer's tournament in South Africa and Marcello Lippi's men have made a solid start to their campaign.

However, Republic have also impressed and remain just two points behind the Azzurri after Keane's late equaliser in Bari.

Republic could leapfrog Italy with a win in Bulgaria in June and Keane is hopeful of claiming top spot and automatic progression to the World Cup.

He said: "We are still hanging in there. We still have Italy to play at home and we still have some tough games away - but Italy do as well.

"It is still hanging in the balance."

Asked if Ireland could still win the group, Keane replied: "Of course we can."
Hunt praise

Midfielder Stephen Hunt has also praised the performance against Italy, pointing out that Republic could have netted a last-gasp winner in a rousing finish.

"We played well, especially in the second half," said Hunt. "We controlled the game and in the end we could have snatched it and it is disappointing we didn't.

"It's great, magnificent. It's a point and we are unbeaten in the group.

"Saturday (drawing 1-1 with Bulgaria) was disappointing - everyone was disappointed, we are not stupid.

"But we move on into Bulgaria and look to get a result and keep going."


H / A / N Matches W D L Goals + / -
H 6 0 2 4 6 - 10 -4
A 5 1 1 3 2 - 8 -6
N 4 2 0 2 3 - 4 -1
Total 15 3 3 9 11 - 22 -11

Date&time Comp. H / A / N Final score
22.06.2016 at 21:00 European Cup Finals A 1 - 0
31.05.2014 at 19:45 Friendly H 0 - 0
18.06.2012 at 15:00 European Cup Finals N 0 - 2
07.06.2011 at 19:30 Friendly N 2 - 0
10.10.2009 at 15:00 World Cup Qualifier H 2 - 2
01.04.2009 at 19:50 World Cup Qualifier A 1 - 1
17.08.2005 at 19:30 Friendly H 1 - 2
18.06.1994 at 00:00 World Cup Finals N 1 - 0
04.06.1992 at 00:00 Tournament N 0 - 2
30.06.1990 at 00:00 World Cup Finals A 0 - 1
05.02.1985 at 00:00 Friendly H 1 - 2
10.05.1971 at 19:00 European Cup Qualifier H 1 - 2
08.12.1970 at 00:00 European Cup Qualifier A 0 - 3
23.04.1927 at 00:00 Friendly H 1 - 2
21.03.1926 at 00:00 Friendly A 0 - 3
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