By Ciaran O Raghallaigh in Poland
Giovanni Trapattoni today sent a message home to the thousands of Irish fans on their way to Poland: WE HEAR YOU.
With the team set to fly south to Poznan on Saturday morning for their opening Euro 2012 encounter with Croatia, the Italian sat down in front of a multi-national media gaggle after the side’s last training session in Gdynia, and spoke of his excitement as the hours count down to kick off.
Trapattoini was asked about the thousands of supporters on their way to watch his men, and he left them in little doubt that the squad was well aware of the green wave that’s crossing Europe as we speak.
“I say to all the players, I repeat always – ‘you have to be proud about our country’,” he said.
“Our people are making a great sacrifice to watch us, the money, travel, making the trip. The players know this.
“I will tell all the players this before the game, again, I give them this information. It’s important we guarantee the fans total, complete commitment.”
Germans backing Ireland to win
It’s not only Irish fans who are cheering on the boys in green, apparently. Walking around Sopot and Gdynia, the warmth towards Trap’s team is clear.
Every Pole bemused by my pidgin Polish while reporting for the Paddy Power Blog has spoken of the country being their second team.
Today, a German broadcaster told Trapattoni that, while he couldn’t understand why, most Germans want Ireland to win – if the Germans don’t, of course.
In an hilarious exchange, the German interviewer (sounding like one of the three little pigs from Shrek) asked Trap for a few words in Deutsch, but the Italian garbled a multilingual response that made less sense that was harder to make sense of than the movie Inception.
“Ich Denke Deutschland go with good result.” Danke Trap.
Trap goes multi-national with mixed results
Then it was on to fielding questions in French, from a Polish news broadcaster. Will Ferrell could have done his homework for Anchorman here today. Stay classy, Gdynia.
So, to Croatia on Sunday. They’re favourites, right? (Paddy Power is offering a tasty 11/4 on an Ireland win right now)
“Croatia are above us in the ranking, but we met them in a friendly game (and drew 0-0). No result is confirmed until the match is played,” said Trap.
Can Ireland do a Greece?
“In the life, never say never. But the dream is an easy dream. After there is 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes. After that, maybe the dream can come true.”
Are you excited?
“I’m not particularly excited, I’m a little tense. But I don’t want to drop the tension, if the manager does, the players do. It’s good tension. A positive intensity,” said Trap.
And one last one for the road. Where would qualifying from this group rank in your incredibly long CV of achievements?
This is an unedited answer. Make of it what you will.
“I can go back to the match in Sweden v Denmark. After France and Ireland, Domenech said to me – ‘do you know football’, I said ‘I know the football’. I can repeat also this – I can answer you also, Sweden v Denmark, I remember this game.
“Lennart Johannson said ‘if this game finish draw, we open an investigation. You know if they made the investigation?’
Ah Trap. We hear you.
We just don’t understand you.