Hunt predicts play-off to be special

Hunt predicts play-off to be special

Stephen Hunt emerged from the Republic of Ireland dressing-room on Wednesday night satisfied to have seen his side conclude FIFA World Cup qualifyng group 8 with an unbeaten record.
15th Oct 2009



The scoreless draw against Montenegro took place after Ireland had secured their slot in the November play-offs for next year's World Cup finals. Wednesday's game allowed Giovanni Trapattoni change his team from the line-up that started against Italy last Saturday and Hunt played the full 90 minutes.



"I think we have come on massively in the two years since he's the manager's been here. I don't think anyone can disagree with that. We have ended up in the play-offs after looking dead and buried in the last campaign," said the Hull City winger.



"To be successful we have to qualify for the World Cup. That is the only way I can see it. Whoever comes our way in the play-off next month, it will be a special occasion to be involved in. We'll only enjoy it if we get through and that's the main aim."



Apart from discovering who they face in the play-off, next Monday's gathering in Zurich will also feature the draw to decide which nation gets to play at home first in each of the four ties.



Hunt reckons he'd like Croke Park to host the first-leg.



"Personally, I'd prefer the first leg at home and then put the pressure on them in their home ground in the second game," he said.



"It depends on the scoreline. If it is a 0-0 then it could be a nervous Croke Park coming back here or 1-0 up. 0-1 behind and we have to go for it. If we need a goal, I'm sure the crowd will get behind us."