Mick McCarthy has described tomorrow night’s Euro 2020 meeting with Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium as Ireland's biggest game since his second coming as international manager.
“Oh, of course, yes, without a doubt,” he said at his pre-match press conference at FAI headquarters in Abbotstown this morning.
”We've had our first games - we've done well in those – but Switzerland and Denmark are arguably the best two teams and we've got one of them playing tomorrow night. We all know the opportunity that we've got – and I guess they [Switzerland] do as well, knowing if they come here, they can win.
"But we're all fully aware of what the game means.”
Assessing Switzerland’s strengths, skipper Seamus Coleman said: “All round the pitch, they're a good team. They play that formation with the wing-backs, but we've done our homework on them.
"They've got plenty of strengths and it's up to us to manage that and find where we can make them suffer as well. There’s a great feeling amongst the squad and we fully believe that we can get a result tomorrow night.”
Coleman also admitted that it is a “boost” for the home side that Swiss talisman, Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri, is not available to the visitors.
“Look, he’s a dangerous player,” the Everton full-back said. “He’s one of them who can turn it on and score a goal before you know it.
"Obviously it’s a boost for us that he’s not playing. But a team of quality will have people to come in and replace him. It is a bit of a boost but we need to focus on ourselves.”
On the possibility that there might be further manifestations of the fans’ disenchantment with the FAI in the Aviva, manager McCarthy said: “I’m certainly not going to urge them to protest against the game or anything involved in the game.
"I don’t want a protest, no, I’d like to have a great evening and a game that’s enjoyed by everyone, and a result that’s enjoyed by everyone.”
Sheffield United’s Callum Robinson sat out training this morning with muscle tightness in his leg but sources have insisted that he is not considered a doubt for tomorrow night’s game.