Republic play-off failure could hasten Trapattoni exit

Giovanni Trapattoni goes into the Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia knowing that defeat is likely to cost him his job as Republic of Ireland boss.

The Republic have failed to reach a major finals since the 2002 World Cup but they are favourites ahead of Friday's first leg in Tallinn.

When asked whether it could be his final week as Republic boss, Trapattoni replied: "Yes, yes.

"But I am not nervous about this because I know football."

Any extension to Trapattoni's lucrative contract and those of his staff may be inextricably linked to the battle for qualification.

Victory is likely to mean Trapattoni remaining in the post for the next World Cup qualifying campaign but defeat could hasten his exit amid the widespread criticism of his team's defensive set-up.

The Italian, 72, added that "standing on the edge of the cliffs is a manager's life".

He said: "Our life is dangerous. I have a habit of looking down on dangerous situations.

"But I think I will live, if not here, then maybe there is another.

"I don't know where, but sure, I am not stopping here."

The Irish may never have a better opportunity to reach another finals after getting the draw they wanted from the options available and home advantage in the second leg.

Trapattoni, however, is not taking anything for granted.

"In football every Sunday, or in England Saturday, you see little teams beat the great teams," he commented. "That's football. For me, it is no surprise.

"But we must think these 180 minutes is our life, players, manager, the Irish people.

"I will be very proud if we achieve this result because it means up until now we have done our jobs well."

Ireland's last play-off ended in bitter disappointment when they were edged out by France on a night of high drama in Paris two years ago.

On Thursday, Trapattoni played down suggestions that the publicity that surrounded the controversy over Thierry Henry's infamous handball might mean there was less chance of the Republic ending up on the wrong end of a decision this time around.

"Referees can make mistakes, but I don't have any preconceptions about the referee," he said.