Trapattoni excited about visit of World Champions
The Ireland manager played for and coached the Italian national team in the course of his glittering football career. Italy, now under the helm of Marcello Lippi, come to Dublin knowing a draw will suffice to clinch the group and an automatic passage to defend their World Cup title in South Africa next year.
A victory for Ireland, however, will take the destiny of the group to the last day of the qualifying series on October 14 when Ireland and Italy host Montenegro and Cyprus respectively. Trapattoni's Ireland require two points from their final pair of matches to be sure of second place and a play-off.
"It will be an open and interesting match," Trapattoni said of the Croke Park showdown. "This is going to be Italy against Ireland and Trapattoni. It's an important game psychologically for both teams. Italy will want to show what they can do because they are the world champions. They will play 100 per cent against a team built by Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli. For 90 minutes the two sets of players will give it their all.
"They are two different teams. Ireland were coming out of a little situation for this campaign, a transition phase looking to rebuild which is what we've tried to do.
"Italy were coming from the experience of winning the World Cup. In this phase, they were switching one or two players whereas we were changing seven or eight players.
"But, even if Italy are World champions, you can't be World champions forever - not even Brazil.
"We have a humble team which has set itself a number of objectives. A lot of work has been done - which is gratifying - and we must continue to play without fear. We are not rubbish; we must believe that all is possible."
Trapattoni is confident that Aiden McGeady will be fit and available for the game against the Italians. The Celtic winger hobbled off with an ankle injury during Celtic's midweek Cup game and missed today's SPL match at St. Mirren.
However, a conversation between the manager and player this week provided grounds to be optimistic on his prospects.
Steven Reid, meanwhile, has been included in the 27-man squad though a decision on his availability will be delayed until nearer the fixture.
The Blackburn Rovers midfielder, who played in Ireland's opening two qualifiers last year before suffering a serious knee injury, stepped up his comeback in midweek by playing 75 minutes of the Carling Cup tie at Nottingham Forest.