Euro 2012: I dreamt Ireland could go the whole way, says Duff
Damien Duff admits he dreamt that the Republic of Ireland could go "the whole way" at the European championship
Damien Duff admits that he dreamt of “going the whole way” with the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2012.
The Fulham winger played in Ireland’s successive defeats by Croatia and Spain in Group C, leaving Giovanni Trapattoni’s side without a point as they became the first team to be eliminated from the European championship.
But Duff, who has 99 caps for his national team, concedes Ireland were rightfully punished by reigning champions Spain after a sloppy defensive display.
“I dreamt, like everyone else, of going the whole way,” said Duff. “It is obviously not going to pan out, but what can you say?”
“We didn’t help ourselves at times. Even at 1-0 at half-time, you come out and think, ‘Right, let’s keep it at that for 20, 25 minutes, maybe they will get a bit nervous’.
“But we didn’t help ourselves. You are going to be pulled all over the place, really, with them.
“We did well at times and defended well at times, but we shot ourselves in the foot again.”
Ireland face Italy in their final group game – and Duff promised that Trapattoni’s men will put on a performance for their supporters on Monday.
“I hope we will be looking forward to it. We will get ourselves up for it,” he added.
“We are a proud set of lads and a proud nation, and we want to give people back home and the fans last night especially something to cheer about.”
Pre-match facts: Italy v Republic of Ireland
• The 4-0 defeat by Spain was the first time Ireland have conceded four goals in a game at a major tournament.
• Italy’s tally of 26 points from ten games a national record in a qualifying section for a major tournament.
• Damien Duff has won 99 caps and is set to become Ireland’s fifth centurion after Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Kevin Kilbane and Steve Staunton.
• Chiellini played every minute of Italy’s qualifying campaign; Cassano was the only other ever-present member of the squad and also the Azzurri’s six-goal leading scorer.
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