Spurs coach and Ireland's assistant manager Chris is now preparing the Republic for one of the glamour matches in world football against the French in Paris on Saturday.
But he insists he didn't feel the excitement he feels now when the draw was made.
"When the draw was made the first feeling was one of disappointment because at the time if they weren't the best team in the world, they were certainly the second best and it meant they would be favourites in the group," said Chris.
"But very, very quickly the feeling after that was one of excitement of having the opportunity to play against a team of that stature.
"That the general feeling now from the players, excitement."
Ireland have started well with a win against Cyprus and a creditable draw in Switzerland.
"We go into it having had two good results and they've had one poor result at home, so we go there feeling optimistic but also in the knowledge that they have such a wonderful squad," added Chris. "It's a tough game and a tough group."
Chris Hughton admits he went through mixed emotions when Ireland drew France in the World Cup qualifiers.