Thursday 29 September 2016

Keane: We've hunger and desire to make it

Published 13/10/2015 | 02:30

Robbie Keane: 'To have a European Championship on your CV, that’s an opportunity the lads certainly have to be mindful of'
Robbie Keane: 'To have a European Championship on your CV, that’s an opportunity the lads certainly have to be mindful of'

Robbie Keane has told his Ireland team-mates to forget the disappointment of defeat in Poland to ensure they make the most of their second chance.

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After missing out on automatic qualification after losing to the Poles in their final group game, Martin O'Neill's men are almost certain to be unseeded for the play-off draw, which takes place on Sunday.

"What we have to do is to forget about it as much as we all can. I know it's difficult, but we have to try," Keane said.

"We said at the end there, we've got a play-off and if you looked at the group overall back at the start of the campaign, would you have accepted third spot at the time?

"People would probably have said 'yeah'.

"When you're in with a chance and you think you can take second spot, then of course it's a disappointment.

"But I think that we have to try to move on as quickly as possible and try to make sure that the lads going back to their clubs, they'll be fully focused on that, but that they have it in the backs of their minds that we have big games in a month's time and we still have the chance to go to the European Championship in France.

"There's still something in it."

Ireland are likely to face Ukraine, Croatia, Bosnia, Sweden or Denmark over two legs next month, but having improved their play-off record with a 5-1 aggregate victory over Estonia four years ago, they will hope to repeat the feat this time around.

Keane, 35, said: "Look, we've been successful in the play-offs.

"Having that hunger and desire, knowing that there's a massive prize at the end of it, playing at the European Championships - some players never get the opportunity to play in these competitions.

"We've been lucky enough that we have quite a few who know what it's like. To have a European Championship on your CV, that's an opportunity the lads certainly have to be mindful of."

Irish Independent

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