Hunt wants to play his part
Stephen Hunt admits missing out on the 2010 World Cup still hurts as he looks to help the Republic of Ireland qualify for Euro 2012.
Last Updated: 04/10/11 11:37am
Stephen Hunt admits the manner of missing out on a place at the 2010 World Cup still hurts as he looks to help the Republic of Ireland qualify for Euro 2012.
Ireland's hopes of reaching last year's finals in South Africa were dashed in controversial circumstances in November 2009 when Thierry Henry's infamous handball allowed William Gallas to score a decisive equaliser for France in the play-off tie.
Giovanni Trapattoni's side are now trying to avoid the lottery of the Euro 2012 play-offs and wins over Andorra and Armenia in the next week will give Ireland a chance of topping Group B.
For Wolves midfielder Hunt, the events at the Stade de France that night provide all the added motivation he needs.
He said: "It left a sour taste in the mouth after the France game. It still hurts now.
"But it's a new campaign. I haven't been involved in the first half because I was out for six or seven months injured and missed a lot of important games at the start of the campaign.
"Hopefully I can play a big part in the next couple of games, and whether it's in front of 50,000 or 2,000 in Andorra, they still have the same prize, three points that hopefully we can get."
Ireland's group has developed as one of the most fascinating, with Russia two points better off than Trapattoni's men, but facing third-placed Slovakia in Zilina on Friday evening, while Armenia in fourth will hope to arrive in Dublin next Tuesday with something still at stake.
Hunt said: "Listen, the last couple of games are massive in terms of how the table pans out.
"But nobody expected Armenia to go to Slovakia and win and most people outside of this country probably thought Russia would beat Ireland in Russia, and most people probably thought we would beat Slovakia at home.
"There have been a few twists and turns in the last couple of games, and it can happen.
"By the looks of it, this group is going to be like that until the last minute. It could be a last-minute goal, someone could become a hero and write themselves into the history books.
"It's important not to look to Tuesday - Friday is massive, and we will go from there."