Former Ireland captain Roy Keane believes Giovanni Trapattoni's men are capable of "one big result" at Euro 2012 - which he feels must come in their Group C opener against Croatia to stand any chance of progress through to the knockout stages.
After being drawn alongside World champions Spain and powerhouses Italy, few give Ireland much chance of making an impact on the business end of the competition.
"It will be tough for Ireland, but they will have a good go as all Irish teams do," said Keane, who is set to be part of ITV's media team at Euro 2012. "The biggest game for Ireland is the game against Croatia. They have to get something because if you go to the second game against Spain without a point, it will be very, very difficult."
He went on: "But what you might find with Ireland, which they have done in all major tournaments in which they have qualified, is that they get that one big result - but they have to get a result against Croatia.
"Ireland always bring something different to a tournament - they have spirit, the supporters, that gives you a chance.
"Technically they will be well behind the three teams they are playing, and they will have very little possession, but recently, you look at Chelsea, in football matches, possession has not been the biggest priority - it is about keeping solid.
"They are not bad at set-pieces, and that may be their only hope."