Thursday 22 February 2018

Euro 2012: Robbie Keane sounds battle-cry ahead of showdown with champions Spain

Robbie Keane during squad training today
Robbie Keane during squad training today

IRISH skipper Robbie Keane has sounded the battle-cry ahead of the Republic of Ireland's decisive Euro 2012 date with Spain.

The 31-year-old striker and his team-mates know their first trip to a major tournament in a decade will effectively be over if they lose to the reigning world and European champions in Gdansk on Thursday night following their opening 3-1 defeat by Croatia on Sunday.

Keane is well aware of the size of the task facing the Republic, but he is backing them to come out fighting in the quest for a positive result.

He said: "Of course we do - we shouldn't be here if that wasn't the case. We believe we can go into every game and win.

"Listen, we know it's going to be a tough task. They are one of the best teams in the world, but there's no reason why we can't play against them and get something out of the game.

"We go into every game hoping to get three points, so that would be our main aim.

"It's very difficult as a player to go into a game thinking that you just want to get a point. It's very hard to do that as a player and we will certainly go in hoping to get three points.

"But it wouldn't be the end of the world if we did get a point."

It is very nearly do-or-die for Giovanni Trapattoni's men, who will need to take at least four points from their encounters with the Spaniards and Italy and hope other results go their way if they are to reach the quarter-finals.

However, Keane is confident that the pressure that brings will have little effect.

He said: "There's always pressure, there's pressure before we came into the championship, you have to get results. It's going to be no different than it has been before.

"Before this game, people hadn't given us chance, so what have we got to lose?

"For me, it's just another game. Of course it's a massive game, but every game we play in is a massive game whether it's in the championship or a qualifier.

"It doesn't really matter, it's just another game, it's another game that hopefully we can get three points from."

Spain opened their own account with a point against the Italians, but did so having started the game without a recognised striker on the pitch.

Whether or not manager Vicente del Bosque persists with that plan against Ireland remains to be seen, but Keane for one insists it will make little difference to his team.

He said: "Everyone thought it was a bit strange when they played six midfielders, but that just goes to show the confidence they have in the team.

"It's not a bad six, is it, in midfield, probably the best six midfielders in the world?

"Listen, no matter who they play, we know it is going to be a tough game for us. They have world-class players throughout the squad, so by no means is it going to be an easy game.

"We certainly know that, we know we are up against it, but listen, we still have belief in this squad that we can play against anybody and get a result."

In his role as captain, Keane and his senior colleagues have spent the last couple of days nursing bruised egos and helping to restore the mood in the dressing room.

But now he is adamant that no player can be allowed to feel sorry for himself with such a big game on the horizon.

The LA Galaxy frontman said: "We have to blank out of our minds now what happened a couple of days ago and focus 100% on Thursday's game.

"We have to pick ourselves up. It's a major tournament and anything can happen.

"In a few games already, there's been a few upsets, so there's no reason why we can't go into Thursday's game believing we can get a result."

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