Mistakes cause Ireland to exit Euro 2008 early

Mistakes cause Ireland to exit Euro 2008 early

Published Jun. 15, 2012 12:00 a.m. ET

From Giovanni Trapattoni's point of view, his Ireland team just made too many silly mistakes.

The Irish became the first team to be eliminated from the European Championship on Thursday, losing to defending champion Spain 4-0. The loss came only a few days after Ireland was beaten by Croatia 3-1 in its opening Group C match.

''I don't see this tension in training but this is a clear symptom that when you approach a tournament either you feel inferior or you feel concerned, so you make basic errors,'' Trapattoni said. ''This happened against Croatia and it happened again this evening. I'm going to ask the players how this happened.''

Trapattoni said it was difficult to understand how Ireland's defensive solidity in qualifying had unraveled so spectacularly in Poland. Ireland conceded only three goals in 14 matches running up to tournament and now has allowed seven in two games at Euro 2012.


''Something has changed. The assuredness with which we have played has changed between the qualifying process and the actual tournament,'' the Italian said. ''Fear, tension has meant we made mistakes we didn't do at all in the qualifying campaign. You could see here the weight on the players' shoulders.''

The 73-year-old Trapattoni, whose contract runs through to the 2014 World Cup, said he might use the final Group C game against Italy to try out young players like winger James McClean, who made his competitive debut against Spain.

''It wasn't the best time to throw him on, but when a player comes on in this kind of game it will help him understand what international football is all about,'' Trapattoni said.

Ireland may need to give the younger players some experience because the older ones could soon be taking their leave of international football.

''There will probably be a few players who will retire or whatever, and there will be new players come into the squad of course,'' said Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given, who is 36. ''It's never easy when you call it a day. ... Your emotions are very raw.''

Other key players like Damien Duff, Richard Dunne and Robbie Keane are also over 30.

Trapattoni also said Ireland was at a disadvantage because English football, where most of his squad plays, is not as tactically advanced as the international stage.

''The tactical qualities you need are at a very high level,'' Trapattoni said. ''In England the clubs all play the same system. This is a developmental thing. Some of our players are often talked about, but they don't yet have this.''