Tuesday 27 September 2016

John Giles gives Ireland cause for optimism as they face Group of Death at Euro 2016

Published 12/12/2015 | 20:21

Martin O'Neill (2nd R) and Roy Keane (1st R) react after Italy is drawn into Group E during the UEFA Euro 2016 Final Draw Ceremony at Palais des Congres in Paris. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Martin O'Neill (2nd R) and Roy Keane (1st R) react after Italy is drawn into Group E during the UEFA Euro 2016 Final Draw Ceremony at Palais des Congres in Paris. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Ireland great John Giles believes Ireland's daunting Euro 2016 draw is not as difficult as it may have initially seemed.

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The reaction following our inclusion in Group E alongside Belgium, Italy and Sweden has been largely negative but Giles can see chinks in the armour in all three of our opponents.

"On paper, it's certainly a tough draw. I've been thinking about since the draw and Italy are not quite the great team they have been over the years, Belgium have yet to produce with the promise their players have," he told Off The Ball on Newstalk.

"Looking at it realistically, I don't think it's quite as bad as it looks on paper. Hopefully I'm right, because it will give us a better chance.

"Sweden were lucky to qualify, Italy haven't been scoring goals, Belgium, if they reach their potential with the players they have could actually win it but so far they haven't done it.

"Sweden, with their recent record, wouldn't be in the same class as Croatia (in 2012). I don't think the Italian team is in the same class as the Italian team of that time. The Spanish team went on to win it.

"It might not be quite as bad as it looks on paper.

"I wouldn't expect Ireland to be as negative (as they were at Euro 2012) and we're not coming up against as strong opposition.

"I'm looking at the brightside of it."

Ireland's Euro 2016 fixtures (Irish time):

Ireland v Sweden, Mon Jun 13 Stade de France (5pm)

Ireland v Belgium, Sat June 18 Bordeaux (2pm)

Ireland v Italy, Wed June 22 Lille (8pm)

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