Sunday 25 September 2016

'When teams find out they're playing us they freak out' - Paul McGrath can't wait for Euro 2016

Published 31/03/2016 | 11:21

Most Irish football fans are going into Euro 2016 with cautious optimism after a particularly tough group draw but legendary defender Paul McGrath has a far more confident outlook.

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Ireland take on Sweden in their opening game in Paris on June 13th before playing Belgium and then closing out their group with Italy - certainly a daunting set of fixtures for any team.

But McGrath, who led the defence in two World Cups and a European Championship for Ireland, feels that Martin O'Neill's team will have other teams worried rather than the other way around.

"The great thing about the Irish team is that when they find out they are playing us they freak out," McGrath said last night on RTE 2FM's Game On.

"I'm proud the way the team are playing at the moment. They are not afraid of anyone."

The most dangerous man on the Sweden team is undoubtedly PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and if Ireland manage to subdue him, they may be able to make the perfect start to Euro 2016.

McGrath is confident that the Ireland can repel Zlatan and can't wait to see the team go out and give it a go.

"Zlatan and all this bravado that he gives off, Irish people don't fear that," McGrath said.

"Bring it on."

The last time Ireland went to the European Championships with a tough draw, they were embarrassed after losing all three group games. However, McGrath feels the team is in a far better place now and is looking forward to a memorable summer.

"I think we are a much more cohesive team [than in 2012]," McGrath said.

"I think we play better. I think with Jonny Walters and Shane Long, we will be going into it looking for wins."

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