Euro 2012: Ireland must replicate Chelsea display, says Keane

Robbie Keane says the Republic of Ireland must match Chelsea’s display against Barcelona if they want a result against Spain

robbie keane
Robbie Keane is the Republic of Ireland's record goal scorer Kelvin Gillmor

robbie keane

Robbie Keane believes the Republic of Ireland must produce a performance similar to Chelsea’s Champions League heroics at Camp Nou if they want to get a result against Spain on Thursday.

Ireland are on the brink of elimination from their first European championship since 1988 after Giovanni Trapattoni’s side were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Croatia in their Group C opener.

Keane, 31, was part of Mick McCarthy’s Ireland side that were beaten 3-2 on penalties by Spain in the World Cup in 2002, and they have not beaten the holders in over two decades.

And the striker has urged his side to produce a performance akin to Chelsea’s during their aggregate victory over Barcelona on their way to claiming the European crown.

“Spain are the world champions and everybody expects them to win every game but in football sometimes this doesn’t happen,” said Keane.

“It’s quite a similar situation [to the one Chelsea faced] because Barcelona were the clear favourites against Roberto Di Matteo’s side.

“What helped Chelsea was getting a man sent off and defending for the whole game. Hopefully we won’t get a man sent off but we defend as well as we can and still score. You never know.”

Pre-match facts: Spain v Republic of Ireland

• Spain have yet to lose in six European championship fixtures against Ireland – all of them qualifiers – with their record in those games reading W4 D2 L0. This will be the sides’ first meeting at a Euro finals.

• The reigning world and European champions, Spain have not missed a major finals tournament since the 1992 European championship. Ireland’s last finals campaign was ended by Spain, at the 2002 World Cup.

• The Irish are competing in a European championship for the first time since making their debut in the 1988 event. In West Germany, they beat England 1-0 in their opening fixture, but missed the cut for the semi-finals, drawing against the Soviet Union then losing to the Netherlands.

• Their most recent contest was at the 2002 World Cup finals, with Spain beating Ireland 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 round of 16 draw.

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