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|We can go further than England at EURO 2012 – Republic of Ireland’s John O’Shea|
Sunderland’s Irish defender John O’Shea believes that the Republic of Ireland will shock many at the upcoming Euro 2012 championship and that they can surge deeper into the tournament than England.
After having missed out on every major tournament since being a regular in Ireland’s senior side, 30-year-old O’Shea is revelling in the build-up to the tournament, which kicks off in just under 50 days.
"The excitement is starting to build now for everyone involved and I hope we can go to Poland and make the fans proud.
"We're very strong defensively and that leads to frustration within the opposition. We've shown in the past that we can hit teams on the counter-attack as well as from set-pieces."
The former versatile Manchester United star has all but secured a spot in manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s 23-man squad, but made mention of the tough task the Italian will have in finalising who will board the plane to Poland.
He said: "It's the first time I can think of that we've got so many quality players in around the Premier league, Scotland and in the Championship. The manager has got some tough decisions to make."
The Boys in Green will attempt to qualify from a group that holds current World and European Champions Spain, Croatia and Italy, and O'Shea admitted that many of his English colleagues don’t expect the Irish to make an impact.
"You know what the English lads are like to the Irish lads, saying the usual, 'don't worry, your Euros will be fairly short'. But I have a funny feeling that their holidays will be longer than ours.”
He then went on to explain that he would love to face the old enemy in a game that would be winner takes all.
"It would be unbelievable, wouldn't it?" he said. "Everybody was hoping that we were going to face them in the group stages. If we do face them this time it will be an amazing game to be part of.”