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The former midfielder was one of his side's stars during Ireland's last participation at the European Championship and is hoping for a repeat of 1988

Former Republic of Ireland international Ray Houghton hopes that the Boys in Green will be paired with England in the group stage of Euro 2012.

Houghton became a national hero when he helped Ireland to its first win ever at a European Championship in 1988 as he netted the only goal of the game against England.

"People always talk to me about my goal against Italy at the World Cup in '94, but the best moment of my career was scoring the winner against England in 1988," Houghton said to Goal.com.

"I would love Ireland to draw England for someone else to get a chance to be a hero against them. I can tell you from experience they will be guaranteed free Guinness whenever they are in Dublin."

Houghton then went on to discuss Ireland's chances at next year's tournament and stated his belief that it has what it takes to survive the group stage.

"I don't know why there's a perception that Ireland is just happy to turn up and go home after a couple of weeks. Look at the manager we've got and the way we're organized.

"I don't expect anyone to enjoy playing against us. Realistically, the target has to be to get to the quarter-finals but obviously there are some big teams in every pot that we would rather avoid."

Ireland has been put in pot four for Friday's draw in Ukraine.

Visit our Euro 2012 microsite for all you need to know ahead of Friday's draw and beyond - team profiles, stadium guides, even which hotels are best to stay in!

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