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Sunday 17 December 2017

No excuses vows Keane as Ireland set for must-win clash in Andorra


Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

ROBBIE KEANE believes Ireland will have nobody to blame but themselves if they fail to take three points from Andorra this evening.

Giovanni Trapattoni's side are preparing for a crucial Euro 2012 qualifier in a surreal environment, with the capacity in the principality's tiny stadium restricted to just 850 and the game set to be played on a tight pitch at high altitude.

However, the Irish skipper put talk of the conditions to one side yesterday and admitted that a team with aspirations of qualification should be capable of overcoming any such hurdles.

"We can't be worried too much about the pitch or the stadium," he stressed. "We can't have any excuses.

"Over the years, we have become spoiled playing in great stadiums and on great pitches. It will be the same for both teams here, so we have to stop that talk now.

"Whatever happens, there can be no excuses. They are different circumstances than we are used to, but we have to get on with it."

Keane, who says he feels sharp despite his trans-Atlantic journey from new club, LA Galaxy, still feels there is a surprise to come in Ireland's topsy-turvy qualifying group.

Top seeds Russia take on Slovakia in Zilina this evening and, if they lose, wins for Trapattoni's men against Andorra tonight and Armenia on Tuesday would win the group.

"I still think there will be a twist somewhere along the line," saidd Keane.

There was nothing surprising about Trapattoni's team though with Kevin Doyle chosen ahead of Shane Long as Keane's strike partner. Darren O'Dea and Sean St Ledger link up in central defence due to Richard Dunne's ban.

Irish Independent

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