It may seem a bit farfetched to think that the Republic of Ireland can win Euro 2012 but 80/1 shots have previous in this prestigious competition.
Greece became the second big-price winner of the competition in 2004 when beating Portugal in the final, following in the footsteps of Denmark’s success in 1992.
The bullish Irish fans and media believe they can go all the way – it’s in their nature to – now it’s just up to the players and manager Giovanni Trapattoni to show that confidence on the pitch in Ukraine and Poland.
It won’t be easy, though. If they are to defy their 80/1 ante-post odds with Paddy Power then they will need to first of all qualify from a group that contains the entertaining Croatians, the dogged Italians and the World and European champions Spain.
Irish fans can be upbeat, however, following their 1-0 victory over Bosnia in their warm up game, Shane Long grabbing the only goal, and much will depend on the West Brom frontman and partner Robbie Keane to lead the Irish line.
Paul McShane could come in for Sunderland’s John O’Shea, who is struggling with a calf and ankle injury, while there is better news for Shay Given, who is expected to be fit for Ireland’s opening game on 10th June.
Qualification from the group (4/1 Bet365) looks a tall order but Trapattoni is a wily old fox at this level of football and will set his Irish side up in a style that will undoubtedly frustrate Spain and especially Italy.
With this in mind Ireland should be able to pick up a couple of points in the group and with a bit of lady luck could upset one of the big-guns. The 6/4 on offer from Paddy Power for the Irish to attain between 3-5 points in the group certainly looks an interesting price.
Paddy Powere also has an intriguing market up on how many goals the defensively sound Irish team will concede in the group stages.
It is important to remember that Trapattoni’s men only conceded seven goals in qualifying from 10 matches and it’s for that reason that the 9/4 available on Ireland to concede fewer than four goals in their group matches looks appealing.
Their tactics won’t be very easy on the eye or set pulses racing in Europe, however, Ireland’s defensive prowess could be good enough to qualify from what is on paper a very tough group.