Giovanni Trapattoni – Irish Soccer Manager
In February 2008, in a move that was akin to going from the ridiculous to the sublime, the FAI replaced Stephen Staunton as the manager of the Republic of Ireland with Giovanni Trapattoni.
The appointment took the football world by surprise. It underscored the absolute folly of appointing the least experienced Irish manager ever by replacing him with one of the most experienced and successful managers in the World.
Trapattoni had also been also been a successful player spending almost all of his career with AC Milan from 1959 to 1971. He was also capped 17 times by the Italian national team.
Trapattoni – Football Background
Giovanni Trapattoni was born in Cusano Milanino, Italy on 17th March (St Patrick’s Day) 1939. He began his football career playing for Serie A club AC Milan. Trapattoni spent most of his career playing as a defender or in midfield in a holding role.
With Milan he won two Serie A titles, one Italian Cup, two European cups, one UEFA cup and the Intercontinental cup once.
Trapattoni played for his native country Italy on 17 occasions including playing five times in the 1960 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament where Italy came fourth after being beaten 2-1 by Hungary in the bronze medal play-off match.
Trapattoni ended his career with AC Milan in 1971
following 274 appearances and scoring just three goals. He transferred to AS Varese 1910 which was a mid-table Serie A club at the time. He made just ten appearances for Varese before he finally retired from playing football
Giovanni Trapattoni – Football Manager
Two years after retiring from playing football Giovanni Trapattoni embarked upon his football management career as youth team coach at AC Milan. Within the year he had been appointed as first team coach. During his Italian management career he also managed Juventus (twice), Inter Milan, Cagliari Calcio and Fiorentina.
He also managed other European clubs Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart in Germany, Benfica in Portugal, and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. Trapattoni has an amazing record of success with the clubs that he has managed. He has won the league in every country that he has managed a club. He has won league titles on ten occasions with five different clubs in four separate countries.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s Managerial Roll of Honour
Giovanni Trapattoni as Manager of Italy
Prior to his appointment as the Irish Manager Giovanni Trapattoni had managed the Italian national team from 2000 to 2004. He took charge for the 2002 World Cup qualification campaign in a group that included Romania, Hungary, Georgia, and Lithuania.
Trapattoni guided Italy through group 8 winning six matches and drawing two. Italy’s main challenger in the group was Romania but Italy won the home and away ties by an aggregate score of 5-0.
Trapattoni at 2002 World Cup
Following a 2-0 opening group victory over Ecuador Trapattoni’s World Cup team lost the next match 2-1 against Croatia. In the third group match Italy could only manage a draw with Mexico but four points was enough to to qualify for the knockout stages.
Disaster struck for Trapattoni in the next round when co-host South Korea eliminated Italy from the World Cup following a 2-1 win after extra time.
Once again Giovanni Trapattoni got a rub of the green with the group draw for Euro 2004. Italy were drawn with Wales, Serbia & Montenegro, Finland, and Azerbaijan. Following a lacklustre campaign, that included a home draw with Serbia & Montenegro and an away loss to Wales, Italy qualified by a four point margin. At the Euro 2004 finals Italy failed to impress and the qualification from the group came down to goal difference amongst Italy, Sweden and Denmark. All three teams ended on five points but Italy’s lack of goals meant that Trapattoni’s team went home early. Following Euro 2004 Giovanni Trapattoni was replaced by Marcello Lippi as the Italian manager.
Giovanni Trapattoni as Republic of Ireland Manager
Following a 113 day search for a replacement for Stephen Staunton the FAI announced the appointment of Giovanni Trapattoni as the Republic of Ireland manager on the 12th February 2008. The contrast in terms of managerial experience and success between Staunton and Trapattoni couldn’t have been more stark. There was general amazement that Ireland could lure such a successful manager. It emerged that Irish businessman Denis O’Brien had agreed to pay half of Trapattoni’s salary. Trapattoni appointed former Italian international Marco Tardelli and Irish football great Liam Brady as his assistants. Liam Brady had won two Serie A titles with Juventus when Trapattoni was the manager and was a fluent Italian speaker.
Trapattoni’s First Match as Irish Manager
In his first match in charge Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland team met Serbia in friendly encounter at Croke Park in Dublin. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Trapattoni’s first win with the Republic of Ireland came in his next match in a 1-0 win over Columbia at Craven Cottage in London
Giovanni Trapattoni and Ireland’s 2010 Word Cup Qualifiers
Trapattoni’s first competitive mach in charge of the Irish football team was a 2010 World Cup qualifiers away to Georgia. Ireland won the match 2-1. Ireland finished the campaign without losing a match but finished up a full six points behind group winners Italy. By drawing six out of ten qualification matches the Trapattoni’s Ireland missed some good opportunities to amass more points. Ireland conceded very late equalisers against Bulgaria and Italy in particular and failed to beat Montenegro in Dublin.
World Cup Play-off Matches against France
Finishing second in the group ahead of the disappointing Bulgarians Ireland qualified for a two match play-off with France. Ireland lost the first match to a 73rd minute goal from Nicolas Anelka. With nothing to lose in the return match in Paris the Irish played with more adventure and authority than at any other time during the qualification campaign. After 33 minutes Ireland’s captain Robbie Keane scored to level the score over the two legs. Ireland continued to dominate in the match but couldn’t find a winning goal.
Thierry Henry Handball Incident
With just seven minutes of extra time remaining, and a penalty shoot-out looming, one of the most infamous incidents in Irish football history occurred. Thierry Henry reached the dead ball line near the Irish goal as a cross dropped into the box. Henry blatantly used his hand twice to control the ball and prevent it going wide. He then crossed for William Gallas to stoop and head home. Giovanni Trapattoni’s first qualification campaign had ended in the cruellest fashion as France, and not Ireland, qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Ireland’s Performance at Euro 2012
Ireland’s participation at the the Euro 2012 finals proved to be a huge anticlimax and disappointment. Three bad defeats, nine goals conceded and just one scored. Poor form by many of the players, sterile tactics by Irish football manager Giovanni Trapattoni, and three high quality opponents ensured Ireland’s worst ever performance at a major championship. Ireland began the campaign with a 3-1 loss to Croatia and this was followed by a football lesson from World champions Spain, who ran out 4-0 winners. In the final dead rubber the Irish succumbed to Italy by two goals to nil.
Giovanni Trapattoni – Resigns as Irish Manager
Following two consecutive defeats at the hands of nearest rivals, Sweden and Austria, in Group C of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Giovanni Trapattoni resigned from his position as manager of the Republic of Ireland on 11th September 2013.
Notable Features of Trapattoni’s Reign as Irish Manager
Giovanni Trapattoni’s time as manager of Ireland was controversial – particularly after the Euro 2012 championships. Right throughout his reign, even at the end, he maintained that he had improved the fortunes of the Republic. He was appointed immediately after the diastrous Stephen Staunton reign but he did lead Ireland to a first major championship in a decade. However there are some facts that cannot be disputed:
Giovanni Trapattoni – Record as Irish Football Manager
This is Giovanni Trapattoni’s record as Republic of Ireland manager.
Republic of Ireland Football Managers – Irish Manager’s Records
Mick Meagan – Liam Tuohy – Sean Thomas – John Giles – Alan Kelly Snr – Eoin Hand – Jack Charlton
Irish Football Players
John Aldridge – George Best – Packie Bonner – Liam Brady – Shay Brennan – Noel Cantwell – Johnny Carey