Ireland, Given

Ireland's Shay Given ready

Associated Press

GDYNIA, Poland -- Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has been deemed ready to play in the team's opening European Championship match against Croatia on Sunday.

Given has been bothered by a series of injuries and played only the first half of Ireland's match against Hungary Monday, the Irish's final pre-Euro warm-up.

After practicing separately from the rest of his teammates Thursday, Given took an active part in Friday's session at the team's training base in Gdynia and now looks certain to make his 123rd international appearance in Poznan.

"I had no doubt that he would play," Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni said. "When the team and the squad is complete, we have good options."

With no major injury worries, Trapattoni has made no secret of his likely starting 11, confirming again on Friday that the team that started against Hungary would face Croatia.

"Without any surprises or injuries, I (will) call back the same 11," he said.

Ireland starts as the underdog in the powerful Group C that also includes Spain and Italy, but Trapattoni has confidence in his players' ability to spring upsets.

''Never say never,'' the 73-year-old coach said. ''We have good quality. Our balance, our attitude, our strength ... we have lots of ability.''

After Croatia, Ireland faces defending champion Spain on June 14 and Italy four days later.

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