Carr seeks smooth passage
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Stephen Carr prepares for the World Cup crunch game against Portugal at Lansdowne Road on Saturday as the Republic of Ireland attempt to avoid the dreaded play-off route to major finals.
The last time the Republic of Ireland had one foot in the door of a major championship ended in agony for Stephen Carr.
That was back in November 1999 when Ireland faced Turkey over a two-leg play-off to for a place in Euro 2000. The sides drew 1-1 in the first leg in Dublin but disaster struck in the second leg as Carr was stretchered off with an ankle injury and a goalless draw sent Ireland packing.
They now go into Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Portugal sitting at the top of Group Two and knowing a victory will take them six points clear of the Portuguese with three matches remaining.
Carr reflected: "The last couple of times we’ve been unlucky not to qualify for European Championship and World Cup. Every player wants to play there.
"It would be unbelievable but I don’t want to think about it because there is a long way to go.
"You all want to play in these finals. It’s the same at club level - you want to play in the games that the likes of Liverpool, United are playing in. Hopefully we can get up there."
Ireland face a tricky trip to Estonia next week and Carr added: "These are vital games for us. You could say it’s make or break.
"It will be difficult. We got a good result against Portugal away but they were quality on that night and we were a shade lucky.
"We know it’s a massive task ahead of us.
"We’ve put ourselves in a great position to go onto the finals but there is a long way to go. We’ve got Holland again and Cyprus but we’ve given ourselves a great opportunity in a hard group."
Ireland are 13/8 to win the game with Carr 33/1 to open the scoring - click here for details.