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'We have to get something out of it' - Euros opener crucial, says O'Neill

The Ireland boss is confident of achieving a result against Ibrahimovic and Co on 13 June.

Ireland boss Martin O'Neill.
Ireland boss Martin O'Neill.

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill is targeting a strong start to Euro 2016, describing his side’s opening fixture against Sweden as “a massive game”.

The Boys in Green kick off their tournament against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Co. in Paris on 13 June and the Ireland boss believes that his team must secure a positive result in order to boost their chances of progressing from Group E.

“The Sweden game is a really massive game for us,” O’Neill said, speaking on TV3 last night.

“It’s the opening game, it used to be before that teams went into the opening game very tentatively.

“I thought there was a change of emphasis in the [2014] World Cup, that teams would go at it early on, and I think for us, that first game is very important.”

The former Celtic and Leicester City boss continued: “I think we’re capable of winning the game, and Sweden have a talisman in Ibrahimovic.

They’re workmanlike, they may think the same about ourselves, but it’s a big match for us, and I feel that it’s an important one.

“We need to get something out of it, particularly with some of the better third-placed teams qualifying for the next stage.”

Ireland take on Belgium in their second Group E game on 18 June before concluding matters against Italy on 22 June.

The Boys in Green begin their Euro 2016 warm-up friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia on 25 and 29 March respectively.

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