Hughton on Ireland crunch
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9/1 S Arabia 7/2 Draw 1/4 Rep Ireland -
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Chris Hughton looks ahead to the Republic of Ireland's final Group E game against Saudi Arabia, where a 2-0 win would ensure progress to the second phase.
FOR ME, I think the shame is that Ireland have gone into the World Cup, and it was a hard group no matter what anybody says, and got two good results against two top drawer sides.
Cameroon are probably the best side in Africa and most of their players feature for good European club sides and, of course, the result against Germany.
I know a lot of people didn't fancy them, but you can never take anything away from Germany because they've been there and done it. Whatever people think of them they'll do well again.
The shame for me is the fact that Ireland have achieved two good results and still have to go into the final group game having to win - and by a certain amount.
Having said that, possibly they would have been happy with that beforehand and they're certainly more than capable of doing it.
Germany scored eight against the Saudi Arabia, but I can't see too many big scoring games in this World Cup. It was very much a one-off, it was the first game.
If I look at the way they scored goals, I think Germany scored five goals from crosses and obviously pinpointed a vulnerability in defending from wide areas.
What could happen is that Ireland pay the price for that. When you lose 8-0 in your first game, the manager gets into them, the nation gets into them and they can't be defensively as poor again.
I can see the Republic winning by more than two, but I can't see it being a really high score.
An early goal to settle them down would be nice. You just don't know, it could go either way. If Saudi Arabia happen to score a goal it makes it a very difficult game.
They obviously got better in their second game.
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