- Radio Times
- Review by:
- Daniel Bettridge
Ireland’s Italian manager Giovanni Trapattoni bears an uncanny resemblance to spoof-film star Lloyd Bridges. But Spain v Republic of Ireland (k/o 7.45pm), the Emerald Isle’s David v Goliath encounter with the World and European Cup winners, will be no laughing matter. The Republic’s last appearance in a major finals was at the 2002 World Cup, where they performed above all expectations, eventually crashing out on penalties at the hands of today’s opponents.
About this programme
Spain v Republic of Ireland (Kick-off 7.45pm). Coverage of this evening's Group C match at the Arena Gdansk in Poland. Giovanni Trapattoni's men lost their opener 3-1 against Croatia and will go into this clash as underdogs against the reigning champions, who triumphed not only at Euro 2008, but also at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and have a combined record of 11 wins, one loss and one draw at those two championships. In addition to that impressive tally, Vicente Del Bosque's men also won all eight of their matches in the qualification process to book their ticket for Poland and Ukraine, though they were held to a 1-1 draw by Italy in their first match of this tournament. The most recent meeting between these nations took place at the 2002 World Cup, when Mick McCarthy's Ireland produced a valiant display in the last 16 that would ultimately result in their elimination on penalties, with the teams level at 1-1 after extra-time. That was the last appearance for an Irish side at a major tournament, and Trapattoni will hope his current squad is more harmonious than that which represented the nation in Japan and South Korea, as he attempts to lead them to the knockout stage for the first time. With commentary by Peter Drury and Jim Beglin, and analysis by Roy Keane, Roberto Martinez and Patrick Vieira.