Hunt ready for Cyprus test
Stephen Hunt has shrugged off Republic of Ireland's 5-2 defeat to Cyprus in 2006 ahead of Saturday's rematch.
Last Updated: 02/09/09 9:56pm
Stephen Hunt has shrugged off Republic of Ireland's 5-2 defeat to Cyprus in 2006 ahead of Saturday's rematch in Nicosia.
The heavy defeat in Euro 2008 qualifying was one of the most disappointing results in Republic's recent history but Hunt is not looking back at the match for inspiration.
The Hull City winger is more concerned with picking up three points to boost Republic's chances of making it through to the World Cup.
Asked about the previous debacle in Cyprus, when Hunt was not involved, he said: "I didn't watch it, I didn't see it. It was three years ago. I saw the goals.
"It's still fresh in people's minds who were there, but it's gone now.
"Cyprus? Good team. They haven't had the results they deserve and we have to go out there and hope they stay unlucky."
Republic are currently one point behind Group Eight leaders Italy, having played a game more, and Hunt believes they must aim to win all of their remaining games.
"To qualify, we have to win three," he urged. "Italy have that way about them that they will always do just enough to qualify, and we need to win away to put pressure on them."
Hunt insists manager Giovanni Trapattoni deserves much of the credit for steering Republic into such a strong position.
"He's been good for Ireland," said Hunt. "We are in with a chance of qualifying for a World Cup and to be honest, not many people would have thought that after the last campaign.
"So he's obviously doing something right and the players are behind him. We have got a belief that we can go all the way."