Keane: Ireland have no excuse

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Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane says there are no excuses for not beating Andorra in their penultimate European Championship qualifier on Friday.

Holding just a point advantage over third placed Armenia, Ireland can afford no slip ups in their quest to reach the play-offs, with their chances of topping Group C also in the balance as they lie just two points off first placed Russia.

Giovanni Trappatoni's men will play in front of just 1,000 supporters at the Estadi Comunal, which has a pitch, often compared to a Sunday league surface.

But Keane says: "We can't be worried too much about the pitch or the stadium.

"When we were younger a lot of us played on pitches like that and over the years we have become spoilt playing in great stadiums and on great pitches.

"We won't be popping the ball around like Barcelona and it's important to play to our strengths.

"We can't have any excuses. It will be the same for both teams. We have to stop that now. Whatever happens, no excuses. We need to get on with it, get three points and get out of here.


"Of course these two games are huge and we are desperate to get the six points and to be guaranteed the play-offs. I still think there will be another twist somewhere along the line - I just hope it's not for us."

Fourth placed Slovakia host leaders Russia on Friday with Ireland hoping for an upset which could see them top the group with one game, against Armenia, to come.

"Hopefully Slovakia can do us a favour," Keane added. "But we need to do our job and get three points, and then look forward to Tuesday's game.

"At the start of the campaign a lot of people would probably have accepted us being in this position at this stage.

"We are the clear favourites and rightly so, but we have to concentrate on what we do and focus on our own jobs. We can't just come here and think we will get the three points and that's that. We will have to earn it.

"And we will certainly have to be patient. Of course we would love to get a goal in the first few minutes but we have to be careful and make sure we don't get caught on the counter."

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Robbie Keane

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