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Saturday 16 December 2017

Packie tips Brazil for World Cup win

aS the World Cup moves into the quarter-final stage, Ireland international legend Packie Bonner believes Brazil has got what it takes to win the tournament.

The Donegal man have been following every second of every game and said that it has been an incredible competition for goalkeepers.

"I tipped Brazil and I still think they have got a really good chance, especially if Neymar is fit," he said.

"It would be great to see the home side win, especially when you see the passion and the emotion of the people - it would be great for them to at least get to the semi-finals."

Packie (54) said it had been a fantastic tournament.

"I think everyone has been excited about the finishes, even the extra time has been gripping.

"There has been a lot of things from a tactical and technical point of view which have been heart-warming to see," he said.

Underdog

Apart from Brazil, Packie also thinks Germany could be one to watch, as well as underdog side Belgium.

"They have a lot of momentum going now and it is a great squad, too. They might not have the experience, but I was impressed with their last game against the USA," said the former Celtic player.

The Italia 90 star said he could not believe it is almost a quarter of a century since the competition that defined his career.

"I feel like it was only yesterday.When you look at the World Cup at the moment and you see the excitement of it all and then you think of the emotion that was going on in Ireland at the time, it takes you all back," he said.

Turning his sights back to Irish football, Packie said he welcomed Roy Keane's appointment to be the assistant manager of Aston Villa.

"I think it's been good for Roy because he'll be out on the pitch on a daily basis, he'll be honing his skills as a coach and I think he probably needs that," he said.

"It will probably fit into the Irish side of things to a point but Martin O'Neill will be okay as he has two other coaches with him as it is," the football hero continued.

Packiewas speaking at the launch of his golf tournament, which takes place on August 22 in the K Club Golf Course at Straffan, Co Kildare.

The money raised from the 'Packie Bonner Golf Classic' will go to the charity Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus, which the star has been involved with since his niece Una was diagnosed with the condition over 15 years ago.

"It's a special cause, close to my heart and I think it's so important in this time of cuts to keep raising awareness for the illness which still has no cure," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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