Shay Given rues bad luck of the Irish as Italy's late leveller feels like KO blow

12 October 2009 11:54
Gutted: Given was left cursing Ireland's luck[LNB]Shay Given felt as if the Republic of Ireland had been dumped out of the World Cup when reigning champions Italy snatched a famous victory from their grasp.   [LNB]The Irish were within three minutes of a win which would have kept their hopes of automatic qualification alive at Croke Park on Saturday night when substitute Alberto Gilardino snatched a point for the Italians.  [LNB] That sent them to South Africa and the Republic into the play-offs - an achievement in itself, but that was not a view which went down well within the home dressing room in the immediate aftermath of a dramatic finale.   [LNB]Given, who is in line to win his 100th cap against Montenegro on Wednesday, said: 'For them to score so near the end was a real kick in the teeth.   [LNB]'I know in all likelihood they probably would have beaten Cyprus on Wednesday night, but it would have just put them under pressure and given us a real lift.   [LNB]'To be honest, we all felt really low and it actually felt like we had been knocked out of the World Cup. I know we haven't, but that's how it felt. But time is a great healer. We will kick on on Wednesday night and hopefully seal the campaign with a win and then see who we get in the play-offs.'[LNB]Ireland got off to the perfect start when Glenn Whelan fired them in front with just eight minutes gone, although Mauro Camoranesi equalised within 18 minutes.   [LNB]However, the home side thought they had won it with just three minutes remaining when Sean St Ledger headed home Stephen Hunt's free-kick.   [LNB]Manchester City star Given found himself at odds with manager Giovanni Trapattoni as he urged St Ledger forward.   [LNB] Italian mob: Gilardino is buried as his team-mates celebrate his last-gasp goal[LNB]He said: 'We had a bit of a row, but it is about opinions, I suppose, football. He wanted to see the game out at 1-1, but I felt we could maybe nick it with three minutes to go.  [LNB] 'It is not about being right or wrong, it is just about what I felt was right at the time, and if we had seen it out after that we would have been a lot happier.'[LNB]The Republic now face a two-legged play-off against one of four seeded sides - the quartet currently looks likely to comprise France, Russia, Portugal and Greece - but Given insists they should be afraid of no-one.   [LNB]He said: 'We have shown we should have nothing to fear from any team in the play-offs.   [LNB]'We are unbeaten in the group and we had to play the world champions twice, so we should take a lot of confidence from that.   [LNB]'Whoever we meet will be difficult, but we have to believe we can get through it.'[LNB]If they do, Trapattoni admits the achievement will be one of the biggest of even his distinguished career.   [LNB]He said: 'I was speaking to [assistant manager] Marco [Tardelli] and I said in my career, I have achieved many, many things, winning European trophies and championships. If this happens, it will be one of my best achievements.'[LNB] Republic of Ireland 2 Italy 2: Irish can now rest key players for final qualifierUkraine 1 England 0: Fab display of fireworks - Capello gives ref a rocketFinland 2 Wales 1: Bellamy strikes but pays for jibeUSA and Mexico secure passage to next summer's World CupPortugal 3 Hungary 0: Queiroz's team keep hopes alive but Ronaldo limps outMANCHESTER CITY FC

Source: Daily_Mail