Tuesday 25 June 2019

WATCH: Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane comically write-off Russia as they identify potential World Cup winners

Roy Keane, Martin O'Neill and Patrice Evra were a lively panel on ITV's coverage of Brazil v Costa Rica
Roy Keane, Martin O'Neill and Patrice Evra were a lively panel on ITV's coverage of Brazil v Costa Rica
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

The Ireland management duo of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane appeared together on the ITV panel for the Brazil v Costa Rica game and they didn't disappoint as they served up some brutally honest and comical comments.

O'Neill and Keane have never held back when offering their opinions and when host Mark Pougatch suggested World Cup hosts Russia are emerging as dark horses to enjoy a lengthy run in the competition, the pair quickly dismissed that notion.

"They have had a great start, two good performances, scoring goals and it's always good for the host nation to do well," stated Keane as he reflected on a Russia side that have beaten Saudi Arabia and Egypt in their opening two games.

"In terms of being a threat to this competition.... nah, forget about it."

Keane's cutting comment had fellow panelist Patrice Evra bellowing with laughter and O'Neill was quick to step in with his own less than complimentary assessment of Russia.

"They have got a couple of centre-backs who are about the same age as myself, so it could be a struggle for the rest of the competition for them," he said with a smile.

Keane was a little more upbeat about some of the other contenders for World Cup glory this summer, as he picked out Croatia as a team to watch after their 3-0 demolition of Argentina on Thursday.

"The Croatia result sent a message and the Brazil performance (2-0 win against Costa Rica)...I think this tournament is warming up nicely," he stated.

O'Neill also gave his verdict on England's hopes, as they look to back up their opening win against Tunisia by beating Panama on Sunday.

England captain Harry Kane scored twice in his side’s opening World Cup victory against Tunisia. (Adam Davy/PA)

"In the first half, I thought they played very well (against Tunisia) and I was impressed with them in the second half as they didn't panic and tried to keep the ball," he added.

"They can have a little look at the competition now and outside of Brazil, with their ability and individual quality, they will be thinking we can go a long way in this tournament."

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