Ireland facing Keane conundrum

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Giovanni Trapattoni has admitted Robbie Keane's lack of playing time for Tottenham this season is putting his Republic of Ireland place in doubt.

The 30-year-old missed a penalty with the last kick of the first half as Trapattoni's side drew 1-1 with Slovakia in their key Euro 2012 qualifier in Zilina.

It was a vast improvement on Friday's performance, when the Republic lost 3-2 at home to Russia, but they finished the game wondering what might have been after their star player saw his 12-yard strike saved by Jan Mucha.

"Missing penalties is not a problem. The problem is I know he is not 100% fit. He didn't play like he can," said Trapattoni.

"I could have given him a rest, I could have changed one or two players and in the future it's possible I could try this situation. He can improve his condition. He wanted to stay at Tottenham in August and I agreed because I thought he would play.

"He has experience and is confident with the ball, although he was missing the technique a little bit. The last game he scored a goal so the goalkeeper knows where he placed the last penalty. He was tired and I could have changed him. But psychologically it's like killing him."

Russia's 1-0 victory over Macedonia put them top of Group B, with the Republic, Slovakia and Armenia all tied on seven points from four games. Trapattoni, though, felt his side deserved more from the game after dominating the first half and taking the lead through Sean St Ledger, only for Jan Durica to level 36 minutes in.

"I was sure the team would show a good direction and we could win this game," continued Trapattoni.

"We played very, very well in the first half and we could have closed the game with the penalty. We deserved to win the game.

"The second half was more balanced and both teams had the possibility to win the game. We had a great chance for Robbie but it's a positive situation psychologically and a positive result. The performance was important.

"Before the game I was confident. I can be a little bit disappointed but we lost the game (against Russia) and we can accept this result."

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