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The 73-year-old has told his players to repay their fans' support by performing on the pitch, while suggesting his own tension is helping to control the excitement of his squad

IRELAND
GROUP C
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
P
PTS
 RUSSIA 10 23
 IRELAND
10 21
 ARMENIA 10 17
 SLOVAKIA 10 15
 MACEDONIA 10 8
 ANDORRA 10 0
*Ireland secured qualification with a play-off victory over Estonia

Giovanni Trapattoni is hoping that Ireland have luck on their side to make up for past events ahead of their Euro 2012 campaign opener.

Ireland kick-off against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday, and defeat and leave the underdogs with a mountainous task to progress in their final two games against Spain and Italy, the nation of Trappatoni's birth.

The 73-year-old suffered misfortune as Italy boss in Euro 2004, when Sweden and Denmark's draw sent both sides through at the expense of his side, compounded by Thierry Henry's infamous handball against his current team in the World Cup qualifier in 2009.

"I go back to the match at the Euros, Sweden against Denmark and after that, France and Ireland," he told reporters

"[Then France manager Raymond] Domenech said to me, 'Giovanni, you know football ...', and I said to Domenech, 'Yes, I know football'.

"Sweden against Denmark, I remember the game. Do you know what [then Uefa president Lennart] Johansson said? 'If this game finishes in a draw, we will open an investigation'.

"Do you know if he made the investigation? I'm still waiting for the investigation."
LUCK OF THE IRISH
5/2 Ireland are 5/2 to beat Croatia in their Euro 2012 opener with PaddyPower

Ireland's ranks are understandably excited about their first major tournament since the 2002 World Cup, but the former Juventus coach stated that he is more tense than his suqad, which he sees a good thing for their campaign.

"I am not particularly excited, I'm a little tense. I want to keep a level of tension," he continued.

"If the manager doesn't keep the tension, the players can lose intensity. The manager needs to keep a positive tension."

Plenty of Irish fans have made the trip to eastern Europe to follow the team and Trapattoni insisted that he has told the players to pay the supporters back by making their nation proud.

"I repeat always, you must be proud about our country, our people, because they make a very big sacrifice - the money, the travel, the trip. The players know this," he added.

"All players before the training, I repeated this to them. Our country expects, our supporters expect."

Ireland and Croatia pick up at 20:45CET on June 10.

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