Ivory Coast’s World Cup hopes hinge on Il Trap appointment
In 1939 one of Italy’s most famous managers came into the world, arriving on March 17th Giovanni Trapattoni was born the same year that the first Batman Comic was printed.
Some 74 years on, while the Caped Crusader is as popular as ever with a new movie in the works the curtain is quickly coming down on the career of the veteran coach.
Fresh from a largely unsuccessful spell as manager of the Republic of Ireland, it’s fair to say that, unlike the aforementioned hero, Trapattoni hasn’t been having a super time.
Things had started well for the Green Army who, were it not for a Thierry Henry handball, may have made the 2010 World Cup under the Italian.
But then when he finally did make a finals appearance with Ireland two years later at the Euros, his side endured a tournament to forget, losing their three group fixtures and finishing with one goal scored and nine conceded.
It should have ended there but rather than be sacked or quit, Il Trap continued, with Ireland’s subsequent 6-1 home defeat to Germany setting the tone for a dismal qualification campaign in which the manager appeared bereft of ideas.
By the end, all parties agreed to a parting of ways yet for all the hope the FAI must have had when they appointed the Italian, they need only look at his abject spell in charge of the Azzurri to see he would come up short.
Make no mistake – Trapattoni is an excellent club manager, having amassed titles in Austria, Portugal, Germany and Italy.
But in much the same way Fabio Capello collected trophies across the continent but struggled to adapt to a national team role, Trap’s limitations became apparent.
It was his stint with Italy that demonstrated this, with Trap’s penchant for the defensive catenaccio style proving the undoing of one of the most talented crop of players to ever wear the blue jersey.
At the 2002 World Cup he opted to sit on a 1-0 lead over South Korea in the second round, only to lose, albeit controversially, to the co-hosts.
Two years later another cautious approach saw Italy exit the Euros at the groups, with two draws proving costly – particularly against Sweden.
But despite all this, Il Trap’s continues to get linked with major roles, as reports this week linking him with the Ivory Coast demonstrate.
But if the Elephants are to avoid another group stage exit, with the team priced at 9/10 to go out in the group phase, they would be better sticking with current manager Sabri Lamouchi.
After all, the Ivorians have a track record of looking to foreign coaches for answers, with Sven Goran-Erikkson brought in the 2010 finals in what proved an ineffective move with the team exiting early.
Placed in a group with Colombia, Greece and Japan this time though, they stand an excellent chance of making the second round, which can be backed at 15/8 with Ladbrokes while they are 6/1 to repeat Ghana’s achievement four years ago and make the quarter finals.
Appoint Trap – a manager who failed to inspire consistent performances from talismanic international strikers like Christian Vieri and Robbie Keane – and Didier Drogba’s gang could find themselves on an early flight home from Brazil.
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