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8 June 2016

Former Town skipper says opener crucial to Republic's Euro hopes

Matt Holland sees the Republic of Ireland’s opening European Championship group game against Sweden as crucial to their hopes of progressing in the tournament. 

The former Town skipper is covering Ireland’s games in France for TalkSport and while accepting the Republic are in a difficult group, he says it’s realistic for them to get through that first stage. 

“Ireland are in a tough group, as they were in 2012 but I think it’s realistic for the team to progress this time,” Matt, who played for the Republic at the 2002 World Cup, told Ipswich Player HD.

“They were against Italy four years ago and play them again this time but they have struggled to score goals and I don’t think they are as good as 2012. 

“Belgium are the team to beat in the group. They have lost some key players like Vincent Kompany but they have a good squad and some fantastic players. 

“Sweden have Zlatan Ibrahimovic but after him, I’m not sure their quality is great. If Ireland can keep him quiet, they can get the three points and the first game is certainly going to be very important.” 

The Republic, who have Town striker Daryl Murphy in their squad, play the Swedes on June 13, then Belgium five days later before finishing their group against Italy on June 22.   

Subscribers to Ipswich Player HD can watch the full interview with Matt now.

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