Chris Hughton says the confidence the Republic of Ireland have gained playing away from home should see them progress through the group stage of the World Cup.
Our first team coach, who was capped 53 times by the Republic, feels that Mick McCarthy's side have acquired the knack of getting results from the toughest of assignments.
"I can certainly see them going through the first phase of the competition," stressed Chris. "It's becomes very difficult after that because of the quality teams that are in there.
"What is in store for you in the next round is impossible to say.
"Where they have improved in Mick's reign is they've become a more confident side, certainly away from home. I think that's been their biggest strength and, even though possibly on paper, they wouldn't be one of the bigger sides, there is now a confidence in Irish results.
"If I think back to when I was playing, certainly there was some good players in the team. At home we knew we would win or have a great chance of winning the game, away from home we always knew it was going to be difficult.
"Our results and performances away were always very mixed and generally we lost away from home.
"I think this present group have got themselves into a position that, away from home, wherever it is, there is every opportunity of getting a result.
"It's interesting, you look at some countries like Belgium, who normally qualify for the World Cup. They probably have a similar feeling that, whatever group they're in, they're going to be hard to beat.
"There becomes a confidence in the team and the whole aura of the national side, the people around them, the supporters, who also have an expectation level that they can achieve something."