Ireland Primed For Armenia Challenge
Giovanni Trapattoni`s Ireland side host Armenia this evening (18.45) safe in the knowledge that the destiny of his team lies in their own hands.
The wily Italian has sprung two enforced changes with Stephen Kelly and Simon Cox coming into the side to replace the suspended Stephen Ward and injured captain Robbie Keane.
Trapattoni has come in for wide criticism for opting to field Cox ahead of West Brom team mate Shane Long but few can question Cox`s ability and goal scoring ratio for Ireland to date.
Moscow hero Richard Dunne returns to the side having served a suspension, replacing Darren O`Dea.
Ireland are well aware of the permutations that this tie offers. A win or a draw will be enough to see the boys in green through while a defeat will see Armenia advance at their expense. Should Ireland win and Russia lose to Andorra, then Trapattoni will have automatically guided his charges through to Euro 2012. However such is the nature of Andorran football that they are ranked among the worst teams in the world.
Trapattoni has moved to quell rumours among the Irish support that his side will play for a draw.
He said: “It would be very, very wrong to start with that mentality. If we did that, it wouldn’t be my team. My team will always play to win.”