Eamon Dunphy believes that the future is bright for the Republic of Ireland international team and insisted that Martin O’Neill’s men would have acquitted themselves admirably at this World Cup.
The Republic of Ireland failed to qualify for the finals in Brazil after a poor qualifying campaign under previous manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
However since O’Neill was handed the reigns as Ireland manager, there has been a new belief among supporters and players alike Dunphy insists that Ireland can compete at the highest level under O’Neill.
“When you look at some of the African teams, at Iran who could have beat Argentina, I don’t think we have anything to worry about when we have as good a manager as we have now,” Dunphy insisted after Germany lifted the World Cup with an extra-time victory over Argentina in the final.
"I don’t think we have anything to worry about when we have as good a manager as we have now" - Eamon Dunphy
“We should believe that ‘A’ we can qualify and ‘B’ that when we go to these tournaments, unlike that when we went to the European Championships in 2012 that we’re not just there to make the numbers up.”
“I was fascinated watching the group stages. I felt there were a lot of teams there that I feel we would have acquitted ourselves well against, with a good coach, good morale and a bit of belief.
“For example Costa Rica got to the quarter-final and took Holland to a penalty shoot-out. We drew with Costa Rica with a scratch team in New York just before this tournament began,” Dunphy added.
“It’s interesting to look at the tournament to a view with what we have to begin in September and with the European Championship finals in mind.”
The RTÉ panelist also claimed that Irish players need to start believing in themselves more and that O’Neill will have to attempt to eradicate what he believes is an inferiority complex among the squad and supporters alike.
“We should get rid of our inferiority complex. It's wrong and it was given to us firstly by Jack Charlton and secondly by Trapattoni. We need to believe in our own players, to respect our own players and to go and play in international games with conviction and we can do much better,” Dunphy said.
“We have an outstanding manager in Martin O’Neill and the majority of our players are playing at the Premier League in England. Most of the USA team are playing in the MLS and I’ve questioned if we can have Robbie Keane who is playing in the MLS and the answer is yes,”
Dunphy’s co-panellist John Giles echoed his comments and also claimed that Ireland could have done well at this World Cup: “If you look at the World Cup as a whole, you might call Germany a great team but there was no great teams in there. I don’t think there are any great teams out there. I think that’s why the likes of Iran and all the other smaller nations actually did well,” he said.