Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni believes his team can make an impact at the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and the Ukraine – and he doesn’t care who he gets in next month’s draw.
Ireland are fourth seeds and could meet world champions Spain, England and Trap’s native Italy when the draw is made in Kiev on December 2nd.
The Italian is relishing the moment after Tuesday night’s draw with Estonia sealed qualification for a first major finals in 10 years and a first European Championship since 1988.
Asked if Ireland can prove their worth on the Euro 2012 stage next summer, Trap said: “I think never say never. I hope only we have no injuries in this campaign and no suspensions.
“It’s good that we have new options to come in, but it’s important that we have the basis of our first team available.
“Why not? Now we have discovered Jon Walters, we have discovered also Simon Cox, and we also have Robbie Keane and Shane Long to come back, and also our wingers.
“With this group, why not? It’s not a dream. We need 100 per cent commitment, but football is about scoring goals.”
Goalkeeper Shay Given led the celebrations as the Irish team took an extended lap of honour after Tuesday’s match.
“It’s a historic moment. It’s been a long 16 months but we’re extremely happy obviously. We deserved it and we’ll celebrate for sure,” said Given.
“I think the lads deserve it, it’s been a long road, and we’ll look forward to next summer.”
Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne said: “It’s the best experience I’ve probably had in football.
“We’ve walked around Lansdowne Road a few times with nothing to show for it at the end of campaigns, so to qualify here I think is special for everyone.
“Everybody wants to play in a major tournament and now to have the opportunity is going to be great, but I think for everyone in the squad it’s about enjoying it and enjoying the qualification.”