Euro 2012: Robbie Keane aiming to emulate great Ireland sides

Robbie Keane wants the Republic of Ireland to emulate Jack Charlton's feats in the late 1980s and early 1990s at Euro 2012

robbie keane
Robbie Keane will captain the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2012 Kelvin Gillmor

robbie keane

Robbie Keane is hoping Giovanni Trapattoni’s men can replicate the success of past Republic of Ireland squads at major tournaments when they begin their Euro 2012 campaign against Croatia on Sunday.

Ireland’s record goal scorer was part of Mick McCarthy’s Irish side that reached the second round of the World Cup in 2002, before they were eliminated by Spain in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Keane, who will captain Ireland at their first European championship since 1988, is hoping Trapattoni’s side can match the exploits of Jack Charlton’s squad who enjoyed great success at the end of the 1980s and start of the 1990s.

“I just remember all the banners on the streets, and the street parties, and you know, for some reason it just seemed to be the same feeling, even more so than in 2002,” Keane told Uefa.com.

“Yes, great memories, obviously: Ray Houghton scoring against England, and in 1990 as well, the World Cup when Packie Bonner saved the penalty [against Romania], and David O’Leary scoring.

“Now to be a player in that is great. And hopefully, in years to come, there will be some kid sitting here in my spot and saying the same thing about how well we did.”

Ireland face a difficult task getting out of a strong Group C made up of defending champions Spain, four-time World Cup winners Italy, and a dangerous Croatia side.

And Keane, 31, earmarked his former Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Luka Modrić as the danger man in the opening game on Sunday in Poznan.

“He makes them tick,” the Irish captain added.

“It’s the same with Tottenham: every time he’s on the ball he makes things happen, makes the players around him better when he’s on form.

“So he’s certainly one that we have to look out for, but they have other quality players.”

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