West Brom striker Shane Long has said a good result in our first Euro 2012 match against Croatia is crucial if Ireland is to progress beyond the group stages.
The Irish international is relieved to finally get preparations for Euro 2012 underway and will hope to force his way into the reckoning for a starting place against Croatia on June 10.
Ireland will then face tough fixtures against Spain and Giovanni Trapattoni's native Italy in Poland.
The former Tipperary minor hurler was speaking ahead of Ireland's final warm up game against Bosnia, a game he feels is important for the squad's momentum, which takes place in the Aviva Stadium this Saturday.
Long is part of Trapattoni's 23-man squad for the Euros and is one of five strikers in the travelling party along with Jon Walters, Robbie Keane, Simon Cox and Kevin Doyle.
Asked about his ambitions for Trap's men at the tournament, a bullish Long predicted that Ireland would get enough points in the group stages to make through to the quarter finals.