Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni admitted he would have preferred to have avoided his native Italy at Euro 2012.
Having qualified for next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine via the play-offs, the Republic were on Friday drawn in a daunting Group C.
Trapattoni's team will begin their campaign against Croatia on 10th June before taking on world and reigning European champions Spain four days later.
The 72-year-old may then have to mastermind what would be a famous victory over his homeland, Italy, on 18th June.
But he is also confident, having defeated the Azzurri in a friendly in June 2011, and remains upbeat about his side's chances.
Trapattoni told Sky Sports News on Friday: "(From) the first moment, I said yesterday I should not play against Italy for psychological (reasons).
"But I know Italy very well. I think we can play, because we are not to think about the result when we beat Italy.
"But every game is 90 minutes and different. It is important there is no injury."
Trapattoni also said: "We have to think about football where anything is possible. We have to play with the same mentality we have shown and I am confident."
Trapattoni, though, is refusing to take anything for granted, not the importance of an opening match with Croatia, nor the Spain game.
"We know our position in the rankings," said Trapattoni. "We know we have to play with another mentality. Spain are famous. They won the World Cup. But everything is possible."
Unlike Fabio Capello, Trapattoni has already signed a two-year contract extension, so regardless of the outcome, he will be staying on.
However, beneath the kindly exterior beats the heart of a fierce competitor and there is no way he will timidly accept failure.
"I have done this job all over the world in different countries; Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal, now with Ireland," he said.
"I really love my job and it will give me huge satisfaction to take Ireland to a finals.
"It shows that when you are really well organised and have real self-belief you can do it, even with smaller countries.
"Everybody on the Irish team is looking forward to bringing our football and our style to the tournament.
"For me it is not about what I have done in the past, and I have done a lot, but about what the future will bring."
How far can Republic of Ireland go at Euro 2012?