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

12 Oct 2009 11:54:19

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

Gutted: Given was left cursing Ireland's luck 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.   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.  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.   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.   '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.   '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.' 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.   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.   Manchester City star Given found himself at odds with manager Giovanni Trapattoni as he urged St Ledger forward.   Italian mob: Gilardino is buried as his team-mates celebrate his last-gasp goal 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.  '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.' 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.   He said: 'We have shown we should have nothing to fear from any team in the play-offs.   '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.   'Whoever we meet will be difficult, but we have to believe we can get through it.' If they do, Trapattoni admits the achievement will be one of the biggest of even his distinguished career.   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.'  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


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