Republic of Ireland 0 - 1 Greece

Match info: International at Aviva Stadium

Date: 14/11/2012 KO: 19:45 Ref: Eitan Shmuelevitz Att: 16,256

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Rep Ire



Jose Holebas 29

FT (ht: 0-1)

  • Last Updated: November 14 2012, 23:44 GMT

Giovanni Trapattoni was looking to the future after seeing his Republic of Ireland young guns give a good account of themselves in their 1-0 friendly defeat by Greece.

Trapattoni: Impressed by his side's performance
Trapattoni: Impressed by his side's performance

Trapattoni blooded a new generation of players by naming Ciaran Clark, James McCarthy, James McClean and Robbie Brady in his starting line-up, and there was also a nod to the form of Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan, who was introduced as a half-time substitute.

Jose Holebas' 29th-minute strike ultimately secured victory for the Greeks at the Aviva Stadium, but Trapattoni, who must now start to draw up a plan to halt Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the sides meet in Stockholm in the next round of World Cup qualifiers in March, was happy with what he saw.

He said: "The results gives us great disappointment, but the performance gives us possibilities.

"It gave us confirmation of what we were looking for. Coleman, McCarthy, Long and also McClean, they confirmed against a great team - because Greece are a great team - their quality and their personality, and that was important.

"In the first 20 minutes, we played very, very great football. We conceded the goal and even then, we still had more possession.

"Football is about results, but we had some good situations and three or four of the players showed their personality in this difficult game.

"It was very important to have a good performance after the disappointment against Germany. You can see a progression."

However, while there were encouraging signs from Brady, who combined well with full-back Seamus Coleman down the right, and McCarthy, when it came to the hard currency of clear-cut chances, they were few and far between.

Brady and McCarthy forced saves from keeper Orestis Karnezis either side of half-time, but with Simon Cox having passed up a glorious opportunity when he failed to hit the target with a 10th-minute header, one strike from the Greeks proved enough.

It came from midfielder Holebas, who turned smartly past John O'Shea after collecting skipper Georgios Samaras' pass before drilling a shot past keeper David Forde and into the bottom corner.

Trapattoni was convinced his side soul have had two penalties, the first of them for a first-minute handball by defender Konstantinos Stafylidis and the second for a foul on substitute Kevin Doyle.

He said: "In the first minute, there was a great penalty - all our fans saw it. But maybe the referee did not have the courage to blow after one minute."

Greece boss Fernando Santos was delighted with the way his side used the possession they had in the first half, but also with their defensive resilience after the break.

He said: "In the first half, we saw that our team had good possession and tried to score, and we scored a good goal.

"But in the second half, our defensive organisation was the key that gave us the victory.

"This victory is very good because we showed our character and our will to win this game."

Trapattoni returned to the dressing room to hear of Ibrahimovic's four-goal blast against England, and was quick to respond when asked how he will attempt to keep the Swede quiet.

He said with a smile: "I hope he's finished, I hope he has got rid of all his fuel.

"We know Ibrahimovic very well. He is one of those strikers who can score a goal alone.

"There are other strikers who need the team, but he is one of those - as [Cristiano] Ronaldo is and [Lionel] Messi is another - strikers who can create goals for themselves."

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