In 1997 and most particularly in 1999 the Macedonians stopped Ireland from automatic qualification and took great delight in doing so.
Someone also humorously (I think) pointed out that Macedonia had given Jedward ‘null points’ in the recent Eurovision but surely on that basis they can’t be all bad.
So to get a result Trapattoni’s team would need a professional performance and a little bit of luck.
They didn’t have long to wait for their rub of the green as Robbie Keane’s 7th minute long range effort was deflected over the home goalkeeper to give Ireland just the start they wanted.
Then a shocking mistake by a Macedonian defender allowed Keane in for a second and there was no way back for the home team.
They did have one great chance to make it a game but missed a penalty just before half-time. After that Ireland shut up shop and Shay Given pulled off a couple of good saves to ensure the victory.
This was a typical Trapattoni performance as all 10 outfield players ran themselves into the ground and everyone is expected to do their share.
No one will ever accuse Trap of playing the ‘beautiful game’ but his system is very effective indeed.
The two central midfielders Glen Whelan and Keith Andrews run and tackle as if their lives depend on it and even the talented Aidan McGeady spends a lot of his time tracking back.
This is what’s required if you want to be in Trapattoni’s team and as long as it produces results, fans will accept it.