Striker Robbie Keane has put country before club in a bid to ensure that the Republic of Ireland seal Euro 2012 qualification.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s side have a 4-0 advantage over Estonia going into Tuesday’s deciding second leg in Dublin, but both coach and player agree the job is not over yet.
MLS side LA Galaxy are taking on the Houston Dynamo in Sunday’s season-ending MLS Cup Final, and requested Keane return early after Friday’s emphatic first-leg win.
But Keane remains determined to make sure his country reach their first major finals since the 2002 World Cup and enjoy any subsequent celebrations.
“It’s still half way, you know,” Keane said. “It would be tragic now if we didn’t qualify, but the job’s still not done yet.”
“We have to be professional and do the job properly. They (LA Galaxy) requested that I came back, obviously with the final on Sunday, but this could be one of the greatest moments in Irish history for me, playing for my country, so to miss a special night wouldn’t feel right.”
Ireland manager Trapattoni emphasised Keane’s point on the job not yet being complete.
“We must remember that qualification still hasn’t finished,” Trapattoni warned. “It’s not finished and we haven’t achieved qualification yet.”
“If we go on the pitch with the wrong mentality it could be more difficult to achieve the result.”
Trapattoni added that should his side seal their place at next year’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine, they will not be there to simply make up the numbers.
“We are proud of the level we’ve reached with this team,” the Italian said. “I also think that if we reached the European Championships, we could do well, without injuries, or suspensions.”
“Our team has also shown us over seven, eight or nine games that they can play well with 100 percent commitment.”
“They play with the same mentality against Italy and Croatia. For me, that is important because at last the team understands what they are capable of.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!