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Ireland eager for challenge of Spain

Sean St. Ledger and John O’Shea know Ireland must perform well if they are to get anything out of their Euro 2012 game against Spain.

After losing 3-1 to Croatia in their first match of Group C on Sunday, Ireland must secure at least a point against Spain to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

Ireland’s goal-scorer against Croatia, St. Ledger, is relieved by the short turnaround before the Spain clash.

“Obviously disappointing to have lost the other night, but the games come thick and fast and obviously we need to get a result against Spain,” the Leicester City defender told reporters.

“I feel we have to be confident, there is no other option really. We know that we obviously have to get something from the game and obviously looking forward to it.

“They (Spain) have got very good players, that is well known, how good their squad is, their midfielders.

“I have never seen a side play without a striker before, but obviously they need to win just as much as us on Thursday, so I can imagine it will be a very good game,” he said, referring to Spain’s choice of midfielder Cesc Fabregas ahead of a traditional centre forward in their opener against Italy.

Defender John O’Shea agreed with his colleague and said his side would try to repay the faith shown by their fans when they take on Spain in Gdansk.

“It is one of those things, the pressure, we have to rise to it now,” O’Shea said.

“The Spanish are going to be a massive test for us, after the disappointment of the Croatia game, we have to give something back to everyone that has travelled over, and to ourselves and the management as well.

“We have to make an impact at the tournament if we can, and what better way to do it than against Spain.”

Ireland assistant coach Marco Tardelli feels the Ireland players will be highly motivated to make an impression in what is the country’s first appearance at a major tournament since the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

“The players must understand that they must stay in a big tournament, because not all players have the possibility to play in the European Championships, this is a good motivation,” he said.

Tue 12 June, 2012
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