Keane keeps focus on qualification

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Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane will be concentrating solely on his World Cup dream rather than any form of revenge over Cyprus on Saturday night.

A hugely damaging 5-2 European Championship qualifier defeat in Nicosia three years ago has etched itself into the darker side Irish football folklore, and has been one of the main topics of conversation leading up to a game which could see Giovanni Trapattoni's side take a major step towards next summer's finals in South Africa.

Keane said: "We are not going out in this game to get revenge for that game a few years ago, we are going out to win the game to qualify for the World Cup regardless of who it's against."

He added: "That game is long gone. As far as I'm concerned, it's a distant memory. We focus on tomorrow's game and focus on winning to get three points to qualify for the World Cup, it's as simple as that."

Ireland did, of course, beat the Cypriots 1-0 at Croke Park in October last year to claim three points from the total of 13 they have amassed from their seven games to date, although if the evidence of that night is anything to go by, they know they will be in for a tough test at the GSP Stadium.

But Trapattoni has been at pains to remind his players that one dreadful day on the holiday island was an isolated blackspot, a theme his captain picked up.

Keane said: "The players are quite bored speaking about it. You have to judge us over how many games we have played against Cyprus and how many times we have won.

"We have most of the time come out on top. That was a one-off game and the last game, we beat them, so I would prefer to focus on that than that game a few years ago."

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Robbie Keane

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