Team Preview: Ireland

FIFA Ranking: 18

Euro history: Euro 2012 will be Ireland’s second appearance in the tournament. They were eliminated from the 1988 Euro in the group stage.

How they qualified: Ireland finished two points behind Russia in Group B. Ireland placed ahead on Armenia, Slovakia, Macedonia and Andorra. Ireland was fortunate to draw Estonia in the second place playoffs. They defeated the Estonians 5-1 on aggregate.

Group information and schedule: Ireland is in Group C with Croatia, Spain and Italy. All matches will be played in Poland.

June 10 vs. Croatia in Poznan

June 14 vs. Spain in Gdansk

June 18 vs. Italy in Poznan

Early roster thoughts: Three of the five most capped players for Ireland are on this squad. Shay Given (121 caps) is an experienced shot stopper. He had a nice rebound club season with Aston Villa and helped keep the club in the Premier League. Damien Duff (98) is an important part of an Ireland midfield. Forward Robbie Keane (116) has 53 goals in his international career.

How they will do: Ireland drew a tough group and might need some luck if they want to advance. The first match against Croatia is a tilt the Irish can’t lose.

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