Roy Keane: Republic of Ireland ready to cause a shock at Euro 2012


"The balls have arrived, and the kits arrived, so they are bound to win." Roy Keane can laugh now at the events of 10 years ago, when the Republic of Ireland's disorganisation prompted his infamous walk-out from the team's Saipan training base before the 2002 World Cup, but the jokes hide a serious point.

While Keane is not interested in reviewing ancient history in any detail – "you don't want to go there, I've a train to get in five hours," he says – the legacy of his fall-out is a better-prepared Irish team. This is their first tournament since South Korea and, said Keane, "The feedback is there is lots learned and they will be as well prepared as a lot of the teams out there. Their base is in a lovely spot and I think Trap [manager Giovanni Trapattoni] will be well organised".

The build-up has seen Trapattoni guarding against boredom. After beating Bosnia-Herzegovina in their Dublin send-off, Ireland had a warm-up camp in Trapattoni's native Italy where sightseeing in Florence and visiting Montecatini's cafes was on the agenda with training. A 0-0 friendly in Hungary on Monday followed before Ireland moved into their tournament base in Sopot, a beach resort near Gdansk where they play Spain on 14 June.

That match, and the concluding game against Italy, are the glamour fixtures but it is the opening game, against Croatia in Poznan on Sunday, which Keane sees as key. "They have to get something. If you go to the second game against Spain without a point it will be very, very difficult. Croatia will be feeling the same, that this will be the best game for them to start with, but while Croatia are technically very, very good, they are not Spain.

"Believe it or not, in Ireland the expectation is that they will get out of the group. I'm being a bit more realistic and I think it will be very difficult. The big problem for Ireland is that possession generally wins you football matches and Ireland do not retain the ball well enough to sustain decent results. Technically they will be well behind the three teams they are playing. But what you might find with Ireland, which they have done in all major tournaments in which they have qualified, is that they get that one big result. They are not bad at set-pieces. That may be their only hope."

That and James McClean, the Sunderland winger who Keane feels could be their surprise package. "He's a good player, and the other teams won't have seen too much of him. He's a big strong boy, he can get you goals, he's a threat. If he can bring his club form to the team he can get in that starting XI."

Keane concluded: "They will have a good go as all Irish teams do. Ireland always bring something different to a tournament, they have the spirit and the supporters, that gives you a chance."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)