Stephen Hunt has admitted Ireland would rather have had an easier group at Euro 2012, but says they are well prepared for the challenge.
Republic of Ireland start their campaign against Croatia on Sunday, before facing defending champions Spain and 2006 World Cup winners Italy, as they try to qualify for the quarter-finals.
But the men from the Emerald Isle are more than used to being cast in the role of underdogs, and will have to draw on inspirations of the past when they have upset the odds to claim some big scalps.
But Hunt admits it will be a tough task.
He told the Daily Mirror: "The way we've been in past tournaments, we've always had a big result to get us out of the group.
"Whether that's going to happen this time is another thing. We'd rather have an easier group.
"On their day, if Spain perform, they could beat you 4-0 or 5-0. And, on their day, Croatia could give us a football lesson, while Italy can beat us too.
"It's all about who can peak at the right time when the tournament gets under way.
"We don't want to embarrass ourselves."
But despite acknowledging the fact that they are seen as the also-rans of the group, Hunt says Giovanni Trapattoni's men are well prepared.
He continued: "We played Croatia in Dublin [a goalless draw in August 2011] and they were very comfortable on the ball. They pass the ball well and have a manager who's really relaxed in [Slaven] Bilic.
"With Spain, you know how they're going to play. You watch their players week-in, week-out in La Liga, so you know what to expect.
"And with Italy you know what you're getting in terms of the defensive mentality and how they're going to play.
"The draw is right up Ireland's street," joked Hunt, "underdogs all the way."
The Wolves winger was also quick to praise Trapattoni, who has lost just eight games since taking the manager's job in 2008, and had guided the Republic to their first major tournament since the World Cup in 2002.
Hunt said: "We know exactly what he wants in terms of his style. We know what he's like off the pitch, too - in terms of how much respect he has for everybody, not just the players, but the people around the squad, the hotel staff and so on.
"You see him talk to people and he's very gracious, which gains him even more respect from the players.
"He's a gentleman, but you're still fearful of him. You're always on your toes around him and respect him."
But Hunt will be giving the 73-year-old Italian a nudge ahead of Ireland's final group game.
"My best games for Ireland have come against Italy, so I'll be reminding the manager of that!" he added.