Tardelli: Andorra will not be easy
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Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli will know exactly what his players are going through on Friday evening as they attempt to see off minnows Andorra.

Victory is a must if Ireland are to keep alive their hopes of automatic qualification for UEFA EURO 2012, and while on paper they would expect to win the game comfortably as they are ranked some 174 places higher than their latest Group B opponents, they know the game is unlikely to be a procession.

However, Tardelli knows from personal experience what lies in store. Asked if he had played in similar fixtures during his international career with Italy, he said: "Yes, many years ago against Malta, against Cyprus when they played not too well. Now Cyprus are a very good team.

"Sometimes it is possible to find the team and the pitch very tough. But I don't think for me the problem is the pitch or the weather. We know it's a very tough match because it's possible that many players may think it's an easy match.

"But it is not easy and if we are not focused for the match, it's terrible. We will start with the right determination."

We will start with the right determination.
Marco Tardelli, Republic of Ireland assistant manager

Tardelli and manager Giovanni Trapattoni put the players through their paces at Espanyol's training ground in Barcelona this evening after flying out from Dublin this morning. They will train at the tiny Estadi Comunal in Andorra tomorrow night, when they will see for themselves how challenging the conditions could be.

Trapattoni is yet to finalise a decision on his back four, although it seems likely Darren O'Dea will partner Sean St Ledger in central defence in place of the suspended Richard Dunne with John O'Shea continuing at right-back.

He has an issue to address in central midfield too with Glenn Whelan going into the game on a yellow card and knowing a second would rule him out of the potentially decisive clash with Armenia at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The Italian was giving little away this evening as Whelan, Keith Fahey and Keith Andrews all played in a 12-a-side game at the end of the session. Asked if the manager was concerned about Whelan's situation, Tardelli said: "Not just Giovanni, me too.

"Tomorrow we will decide the team to play Andorra, but we have many options. It is possible Fahey (will play), it is possible Whelan. We have four players."

One man who will definitely not be involved in Andorra is Stoke City striker Jonathan Walters, who did not fly out with the rest of the team as he continued treatment for an ankle injury. However, he has not yet been ruled out of the second game and could join up with the rest of the squad when they return to Dublin during the early hours of Saturday morning.

There were smiles all round as the players headed back to their hotel after training, and Tardelli too could have been forgiven for enjoying his trip to Barcelona. The 1982 FIFA World Cup™-winning Italian beat both Argentina and Brazil in the city before seeing off semi-final opponents Poland with Italy at the Nou Camp. "I don't remember," said Tardelli with a smile, before adding: "I remember very well."