Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni wary ahead of Euro 2012 clash with Croatia

Giovanni Trapattoni has warned his Republic of Ireland side that they must avoid mistakes if they are to claim victory in their first game of Euro 2012 when they take on Croatia on Sunday.

With reigning world and European champions Spain as well as heavyweights Italy also in Group C, Trapattoni knows that victory over the Croatians would be essential if his team are to qualify for the next round.

The 73-year-old will have his squad well-prepared for the fixture, but has told them that they must be ready for anything if they hope to succeed.

"You can prepare for a match in the best way you can, but I always watch matches and I prepare very well, and then there are unpredictable situations," he told reporters.

"This is something unpredictable and something unpredictable can happen in each match. We are really confident, but we have to be aware of that unpredictability.

"The most important thing is what you feel. We all expect victory, of course, but the question is whether you can avoid mistakes. That is a huge concern because in each match, you want to avoid mistakes.

"In each circumstance, the Irish nation is confident about this team. They fully believe in us."

Despite their role as underdogs, Trapattoni feels that a win for Ireland in their opening game could set up a memorable run in the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

"Of course, the first match is critical," Trappatoni admitted. "If you win the first match, you get momentum and enthusiasm and in this way you can avoid criticism and you are still confident and maybe you can reach your goal.

"I have said already last week, 'never say never'. Of course, the final result depends on the players, their creativity and their talent. That's why you have to believe in it.

"For me and for [assistant manager] Marco Tardelli, we have given Irish people what Ireland has asked for. We got here because we were fully determined to get through qualification."

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