Republic of Ireland ready to make mark in Euro 2016 opener against Sweden

Martin O’Neill’s Ireland side are back in the French capital and primed for what seems to be their best chance of a win in Group E at Euro 2016

The Republic of Ireland are back at the Stade de France for what has the feel of a do-or-die match. What could possibly go wrong? The Irish have Sweden in the opening tie of their Euro 2016 group phase campaign and the sense of anticipation, as the manager, Martin O’Neill, said on Sunday, is palpable. And yet the demons lurk. The choice of venue has seen to that.

With apologies to Ireland fans, who have attempted to blot out the events of 18 November 2009 – a quick recap. The previous visit to Stade de France on Paris’s north side was for the second leg of the 2010 World Cup play-off against France and it was the game that was decided by the Hand of Gaul, or however Thierry Henry’s double handball in extra-time is best described, which helped to set up William Gallas’s decisive goal.

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