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  • 26 May 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Referee: N. Hänni
  • • Attendance: 37100

Ireland - Bosnia Preview: Boys in Green in Balkan rehearsal for Croatia Euro 2012 opener

Ireland - Bosnia Preview: Boys in Green in Balkan rehearsal for Croatia Euro 2012 opener

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Giovanni Trapattoni's side will be forced to overcome several injury worries as they take on challenging opponents ahead of their opening match in Poland & Ukraine



Mcshane, Dunne, St.Ledger, Ward

Duff, Whelan, Gibson, McLean
Keane, Doyle
Mujdza, Pandza, Jahic, Salihovic

Pjanic, Rahimic, Medunjanin, Lulic

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has insisted he will not put at risk the recovery of his injured players in Saturday’s warm-up match and will instead give the opportunity to others that have had less game time of late.

In defence he has little choice in the matter, with four of his first-choice back five struggling for fitness, including goalkeeper Shay Given, who will make way for deputy Keiren Westwood as he hopes to complete his recovery from a knee injury.

Stephen Kelly could start at right back in place of John O’Shea, who has an ankle injury, while the versatile Kevin Foley is recovering from a hamstring problem.

Centre-back pairing Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger will miss out with an abdominal tear and a groin strain respectively, requiring the call-up of stand-by defender Paul McShane to the squad to partner Darren O’Dea.

In midfield Darron Gibson is likely to start, while qualifying regulars Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews are doubts through illness and injury respectively. Keith Fahey has suffered from a groin problem but could also feature at the weekend.

James McClean is likely to get an opportunity to stake his claim for a place on the wing in place of regulars Aiden McGeady and Damien Duff.

Robbie Keane completed training in the week to demonstrate his recovery from a hamstring strain and could start alongside Kevin Doyle, as alternatives to Jon Walters and Shane Long who each have minor injury concerns. Simon Cox could also feature having started fewer matches over the season than his rivals at club level.

Bosnia coach Safet Susic has said he will use the friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Mexico to try out some uncapped players with the trio of Damir Vrancic, Muamer Svraka, and Miroslav Stevanovic likely to feature at some point.

Defensively he has injury problems to contend with as captain Emir Spahic is out so Boris Pandza and Sanel Jahic are expected to be the centre-back pairing. Left-back  Sasa Paca and is also out injured and Sejad Salihovi may take his place.

Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko featured as a lone striker throughout the qualifying campaign with playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic behind, with Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic in line should he opt for a two-man strike force.


  • Ireland begin their Euro 2012 campaign on 10 June in against Croatia, and will go on to face Spain and Italy in Group C.
  • The Boys in Green qualified for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine after finishing in second place behind Russia in Group B, entering a two-leg play-off where they defeated Estonia 5-1 on aggregate.
  • Manager Giovanni Trapattoni took charge ahead of qualifying for World Cup 2010, and saw his side controversially defeated in their play-off by France, whose winning goal came via a Thierry Henry handball.
  • The team’s last major tournament berth came at the World Cup in 2002, where they were knocked out in the last 16 by Spain on penalties.
  • Robbie Keane is Ireland's leading goalscorer, with 53 goals, while goalkeeper Shay Given has the highest number of caps with 121.
  • Bosnia also finished second in their qualifying group, to France, but lost their playoff 6-2 on aggregate to Portugal after drawing the first leg 0-0 at home.
  • The young nation entered their first qualifying competition ahead of World Cup 1998 in France, but have never qualified for a major tournament.
  • Former Yugoslavia national team midfielder Safet Susic extended his contract following the play-off defeat and will take the side through the World Cup 2014 qualifiers.
  • Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko has scored 20 goals in total for the side, and needs just three to become its highest ever goal scorer. He will be accompanied by his cousin, Sevilla centre-back Emir Spahic, who captains the side.

Players to watch

J. McClean

Position: Midfielder

Games: 3

  • 1
  • 1
  • 0
The left-winger has enjoyed a breakout season at Sunderland, demonstrating his pace and power and scoring five goals since winning a place in the Mackems' team under new manager Martin O'Neill.

He made his debut for the Boys in Green as a substitute in their last match against Czech Republic and will hope to impress the manager and make his claim for a starting place.

M. Pjanić

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The 22-year-old playmaker has shown great potential over the course of his career to earn moves to Lyon and then Roma last summer

His technical qualities will come to the fore in attack as he looks to combine with fellow midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic in support of striker Edin Dzeko, and he will need to demonstrate he can take on increasing responsibility in the national team over the course of the next campaign.

Editor's Prediction

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni's side will need to live up to their reputation for defensive organisation to progress from a difficult group at Euro 2012.

However, with most of their first choice back five out through injury, they may have trouble with this approach against a side that have reached the play-offs in consecutive qualifying campaigns and include players of considerable European experience in their line-up.

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