14 October 2014 01:51
Ireland captain Robbie Keane is convinced his team will enter Tuesday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against world champions Germany full of confidence.
Keane’s side thrashed Gibraltar 7-0 in Dublin on Saturday and won 2-1 in Georgia in September to claim a perfect start to their European Championship qualifying campaign, sitting three points ahead of fourth-placed Germany in Group D, while Poland top the standings on goal difference.
Martin O’Neill’s Ireland were superbly led by Keane against Gibraltar with the veteran forward scoring a hat-trick inside 18 minutes before his team-mates added four more goals after the break.
Ireland have not defeated Germany since 1994, while the Germans famously thrashed Keane and co 6-1 in 2012, but the Irish striker is relishing the prospective challenge at the Veltins-Arena.
“These games you have to enjoy, you’ve seen the stadium there it’s fantastic, these are games that any player wants to be involved in,” Keane said.
“You’re playing against one of the best teams in the world, go out and enjoy it, as long as you know where you’re jobs at, stick to that and just go out there and give it a go, because [we’re] playing against the world champions, because we’ve got players in this squad who are very comfortable in what they’re doing at club level, and they can bring it to the international stage.
“No question the last two games we’ve got some great results so we’re fairly confident that we can come here and get something out the game. It’s going to be difficult, we know that but we’ve got a lot of confidence at the moment.”
The last time Germany and Ireland were paired together in a qualifying group the former won 6-1 in Dublin and 3-0 in Cologne.
Keane was not involved in the big home defeat, while he sat on the bench for the loss in Germany, and the 34-year-old skipper said O’Neill’s current squad bears little resemblance to the Ireland team of two years ago that shipped six goals.
“To be honest with you I don’t think the players are thinking too much about what happened in the past, we have to concentrate on what we’re doing now,” the Los Angeles Galaxy forward said.
“I think we’re a different team than we were a few years ago, so it’s certainly something the players haven’t mentioned this week, and it’s something they shouldn’t to be honest with you, it’s a different game.
“We’re going into this game on a good run, and we have a lot of confidence.”