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Robbie ready for battle

Posted on 13 November 2009  - 12:00

Robbie Keane has issued a rallying call to his Republic of Ireland team-mates ahead of their massive World Cup qualification play-off first leg against France in Dublin on Saturday night.

Robbie ready for battle

Robbie Keane has issued a rallying call to his Republic of Ireland team-mates ahead of their massive World Cup qualification play-off first leg against France in Dublin on Saturday night.

The captain has stressed just how big an opportunity this game represents to Giovanni Trapattoni's side, with a place at next summer's Finals in South Africa at stake over the two-legged tie. The second leg will take place in Paris on Wednesday.

Robbie is a veteran of one World Cup Finals, but he would love to experience competing on such a stage again.

He said: "The importance of the game and what's at the end of it is massive for everyone associated with it.

"There are players who have never been in this situation before, players who play in the Championship who may never have the opportunity they have now.

"It's important we enjoy the occasion, but it's more important that we do ourselves justice."

However, the striker is only too aware of the challenge the Irish face against the 1998 World Champions.

An in-form frontline of Nicolas Anelka, Karim Benzema and Thierry Henry is what they could be up against at Croke Park.

But Robbie, who captained his country to two draws against current World Champions Italy in their qualifying group, believes his side will show no fear.

"If you look on paper at the players they have, they have got world-class players all over the pitch," he admitted.

"But the one thing we do have is desire and commitment, and a team that's desperate to do well and desperate to get to South Africa.

"We have to be wary of a lot of their players, and I am sure we will be.

"They are obviously the favourites, there's no question about that, but I don't think they are coming over here expecting an easy game by any stretch of the imagination."