Republic ready to rally

Strike duo say the Irish are out to prove a point against Spain

Simon Cox: Striker says Irish don't fear Spain

Simon Cox and Kevin Doyle say Republic of Ireland will revel in the role of underdog in their final two group games, as they attempt to put the defeat to Croatia behind them.

Giovanni Trapattoni's men produced a disappointing performance in their opening game which has left them needing a result against Spain on Thursday to avoid elimination.

But despite the daunting prospect of facing the world champions and Italy in the space of five days, the 'boys in green' are relishing the challenge.

Cox said: "Now we have got the first game under the belt, we know what the atmosphere is going to be like; we know what the stadium is going to be like.

"We don't fear the Spain game now anyway, so it's going to be a game we will look forward to."

Reputation

Ireland have earned a reputation for upsetting the odds, not least when they beat England in Euro 88 and defeated Italy 1-0 in the opening game of USA 94.

And Doyle is convinced that their underdog status will only serve to galvanise the squad.

He said: "That's usually when we are at our best - and we will need to be.

"That's usually when we are at our best - and we will need to be"

Kevin Doyle

Quotes of the week

"We will be ready to go on Thursday. We had unbelievable support. It was fantastic, and we need every one of them behind us on Thursday."

Cox added: "You don't come to major tournaments and get easy games.

"Now we have probably two of the most-feared nations in world football and we are going to go out and enjoy it."

Secure

If they are to pull off the unlikely success, the duo know the Irish need to produce a more characteristically secure defensive display against two of Europe's giants, than they did against Croatia.

"We conceded from three set-pieces, which we are usually very strong at," Doyle said.

"They didn't carve us up in open play - it was a typical performance. We never have the most possession in games, but we usually can get something out of it.

"It's our first defeat in 15, but in situations we are usually a bit stronger at, we weren't as good."

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