Euro 2012: Should Giovanni Trapattoni Change Ireland Formation Against Spain?

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2012

GDANSK, POLAND - JUNE 13:  In this handout image provided by UEFA, Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni talks to the media during a UEFA EURO 2012 press conference at the Municipal Stadium on June 13, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland.  (Photo by Handout/UEFA via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland head into Thursday's match with Spain needing a result to stay in contention in Group C.

After a 3-1 loss to Croatia, some of manager Giovanni Trapattoni's tactics are being called into question.

The Republic of Ireland have played a 4-4-2 for most of Trapattoni's tenure as manager but against the midfield-heavy Spain, he may need to change the team's tactics.

One suggestion that has been made is that Trapattoni could bring an extra midfielder into the starting lineup and replace Robbie Keane up front.

If the captain Keane is discarded from the lineup, there are three possible replacements.

The first two replacements would be extra central midfielders.

The extra midfielder would either be Everton's Darron Gibson or former Derby County man Paul Green.

Either Gibson or Green would be in the center of midfield with Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews in a 4-5-1 formation.

If the Irish go to a 4-5-1, Trapattoni would match Spain's tactics by going with only forward up front. However, Spain may not even play with a forward and employ Cesc Fabregas as a false nine again.

The third possible replacement for Keane would be to bring in Stoke forward Jonathan Walters to play with Kevin Doyle up front. In a different version of the 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1 with Walters playing in front of Doyle.

Whether or not Trapattoni decides to alter his starting 11 for Thursday's match in Gdansk is something everyone will find out a hour or two before the match.

One thing is for certain: The Republic of Ireland face a tough task against the defending Euro and World Cup champions Thursday night, and they will be lucky to take a point from La Furia Roja.