Saturday, November 12, 2011
Robbie Keane - Confidence was key
Ireland captain Robbie Keane believes their Euro 2012 play-off tie against Estonia is all but over after their 4-0 first-leg win.
Keane scored twice as his team thrashed their nine-man hosts in Tallinn.
"It is a great result. This game should be over now and if we don't qualify we'll be devastated," said Keane ahead of Tuesday's return leg in Dublin.
"We deserve to go through because of the way we have played in the campaign. There is confidence in the squad."
Estonia will be missing missing first-choice keeper Sergei Pareiko and central defenders Raio Piiroja and Andrei Stepanov through suspension for Tuesday's return leg.
But Giovanni Trapattoni was keen to stress that his side must keep their focus.
"The cat is in the sack, but the sack is not closed," said the 72-year-old. "The cat is in it, but it's open - and it's a wild cat.
"But we have to have respect for our opponents for what they have achieved in this qualification campaign.
"At this moment, we are near qualifying at 4-0. But I repeat the same sentence: don't jump the gun."
Keane, who has now scored 55 international goals, was full of praise for his fellow goalscorers after Keith Andrews opened the scoring and Jonathan Walters notched his first international goal.
"Jonathan Walters is brilliant," added Keane. "He's a handful and he deserved to score. Keith was superb from the start and he drove us on from midfield."
Andrews admitted the result had come as a bit of a shock.
"It hasn't sunk in yet. It's hard to believe we have come here and won 4-0," said the Ipswich Town midfielder.
"I thought we played very well, harried them and fortunately got the result.
"If we keep a clean sheet it will be a fantastic night on Tuesday. Over the past few years this group has really come together."