My Euro 2016 began where the tournament ends on 10 July.
On arrival in Paris it was straight to the magnificent Stade de France and a stop off at the tournament accreditation office. Around 40 minutes later, with official laminate in hand I was ready to go.
Versailles is both the squad and media base. After checking in to our hotel we decided to take a stroll in the hazy afternoon sun. There were cafes, patisseries, creperies and brasseries aplenty so like all good Irishmen abroad we went to McDonald's.
My RTÉ colleague Ed Leahy bumped into John Aldridge at Dublin Airport ahead of our flight to Paris.
Aldridge no doubt can empathise with the current plight of Daryl Murphy. More than two years after making his debut, Aldridge was still without a Republic of Ireland goal before Euro 1988, the drought ended later that year in a friendly with Tunisia.
His confidence levels would not have been helped by Dave Beasant's penalty save in the FA Cup Final a few short weeks before the European Championship.
On the flip side Aldridge had played a major role in Liverpool's title winning side, considered by some to be the club's best.
Unlike Aldridge, 28 years ago, Murphy is likely to play a limited role at this tournament. 20 games into his international career that first goal remains elusive.
Strikers thrive on confidence and how Murphy could have benefited by converting that close range header in the recent friendly against Belarus.
It's clear that Martin O'Neill has a lot of faith in Murphy, perhaps his time will come on the big stage in the coming weeks.
Realistically how many players are on the fringes of the starting XI for the Sweden game? Can anyone impress sufficiently in the coming days to dislodge one, two or possibly more players?
The smart money, if there is such a thing, suggests nine or possibly 10 places are already filled for Monday's Group E opener.
Clearly time is of the essence for those pushing for inclusion. Today sees an open squad training session in Versailles, another chance to shine.
In five previous major tournament appearances, the Republic of Ireland have won two, drawn two and lost one of their opening fixtures.
How likely is a win over Sweden? Zlatan apart, the team that lines out against the Republic of Ireland should feature players from the likes of Kasimpasa, Krasnador, Olympiakos, Grasshopers, Leipzig and Panathinaikos.
Much is made of the dearth of Irish players competing at the high end of the game. Clearly Sweden face the same issues.
Like the Republic of Ireland Sweden's qualification was secured via the play-off route. In qualifying Sweden failed to beat Austria and Russia in four attempts and finished ahead of Moldova, Liechtenstein and Montenegro. 11 goals in 10 games en route to France illustrates the value of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
There's no doubt that Erik Hamren will have a similar view to Monday's game as Martin O'Neill, personally I feel it's more of a must not lose than a must win.