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Sunday 21 January 2018

Roy Keane sounds the rallying cry ahead of Ireland's World Cup showdown with Denmark

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has warned against over-optimism ahead of next month's World Cup play-offs against Denmark.

There was a mood of euphoria among some Ireland fans as Denmark were confirmed as our play-off rivals on Tuesday, with the second leg in Dublin fuelling optimism that progress to Russia 2018 could be within reach for Martin O'Neill's side.

Yet Keane has insisted the battle against the Danes will be tough, even though he admitted the draw spared him a clash against the one team he wanted to sidestep.

"I think to be fair, we were probably hoping to avoid Italy," confirmed Keane. "They will be very strong and well capable of qualifying for World Cups.

"Obviously Martin has done a great job, the players have been brilliant. We are so near and yet so far and we have a tough couple of games ahead. In case we need to remind anyone, Denmark at the seeded team, so it is going to be difficult."

Keane downplayed the significance of the second leg of the play-off tie being played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, but he offered a rallying cry to start the countdown to the first leg in Copenhagen on November 11th.

"I wasn't too worried about where the second leg would be," he added. "If we lose 4-0 in the first leg, it is going to be hard going, but we are looking forward to it. If we are still in the tie after the first leg, bring it on."

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