Euros draw not as bad as it seems

The Republic of Ireland have been drawn in group E in next summer’s European Championships in France. Group E alongside Belgium, Zlatan and Italy. Or the ‘Group of Death’ as it’s been labeled in some quarters.

  I have no doubt, however, that with Richie Towell leading the line we will fare better than we did in 2012!

  Seriously though it’s going to be extremely tough in that company and we’ll not only need to avoid injuries to important players, we’ll also need those players to perform at their very best.

  I have confidence in Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane and I believe we’ll be much more difficult to beat this time around.

  I also don’t think that our opponents are as good as their reputations suggest. Italy, under Antonio Conte, have been fortunate to finish top of their group. The poor behaviour of some Croatian supporters have helped them in that regard.

  Sweden have some very good players, when they’re in the mood. There are times when the Swedes can look very ordinary.

  World rankings account for Belgium’s hype. I see them as the best team in the group on paper, but as the Belgians have proved in the past: they’re more waffle than winners.

  As for other predictions, well you can expect an important England player to get injured two months before the tournament. Don’t worry though, Uri Geller will fix him just enough to play really badly in the group stages before they go out on penalties.

  Northern Ireland will do well to get out of their group but what they lack in technical ability they make up for in pluckiness so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to pull off a shock.

  At the moment it’s difficult to pick a stand out national team, although something tells me Spain will be much improved from the World Cup and the host nation, France, tend to enjoy playing tournaments at home.