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The Italian manager has selected his normal side for his side's Euro 2012 opener with Slaven Bilic's team and has been boosted by the full recovery of his defensive stalwarts

The Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named his usual starting XI for their opening Euro 2012 game with Croatia on Sunday, and has avoided the temptation to make any surprise changes.

The Irish are in a tough group that also includes reigning World and European champions Spain and Italy, and know if they are to have any chance of qualifying from the group they must get something from the game with Croatia.

Trapattoni will field a 4-4-2 formation that has been boosted by the news that goalkeeper Shay Given and defender John O’Shea are fully fit, while there is no place for the impressive James McClean on either of the wings.  

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Patrick Reilly | Ireland Expert

Ireland had been sweating over the fitness of Shay Given after the Aston Villa keeper only played 45 minutes against Hungary on Monday and his presence against Croatia will boost the squad's attempts to claim a 12th clean sheet in 15 games.

John O'Shea has also been given the nod despite an injury scare while Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews will start in central midfield.

Damien Duff, who may be asked to curb his attacking instincts to help deal with Luka Modric, and Aiden McGeady will provide the width while Robbie Keane may also drop back to boost the midfield leaving Kevin Doyle as the main striker.

The Irish manager told rte.ie: “I have already chosen the team and fortunately, there were no injuries after the last training.

"I can say we are ready for this first match, and that this first match will be very, very tough.

"Robbie [Keane] has already said that the team feels like performing well and we will do everything in our power to get a good result.

"The most important thing is what you feel. We all expect victory, of course, but the question is whether you can avoid mistakes. That is a huge concern because in each match, you want to avoid mistakes.

"This is something unpredictable and something unpredictable can happen in each match.

"You can prepare for a match in the best way you can, but I always watch matches and I prepare very well, and then there are unpredictable situations.

"In each circumstance, the Irish nation is confident about this team. They fully believe in us. We are really confident, but we have to be aware of that unpredictability."

Trapattoni believes the first game of the group stages is the most important and knows they will face an uphill struggle if they don’t come away with at least a share of the spoils with Slaven Bilic’s side.

He added: "The first match is critical and there are some reasons why it is so critical.

"Sometimes, the preparations are not the best. There are some nations who have played until the end of May, so most of them have to recuperate some injuries.

"The second aspect is enthusiasm and the creativity of the team.

"Of course, if you win the first match, you get momentum and enthusiasm and in this way, you can avoid maybe criticism and you are still confident and maybe you can reach your goal."

Ireland team to face Croatia (4-4-2): Given, O'Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward; Duff, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady; Keane, Doyle

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