Ireland captain Keane delighted with fan support
Ireland captain Robbie Keane has been around, and he’s seen a
lot of supporters.
None of them come close to what he’s seeing at the European
Championship in Poland.
”We keep saying it, don’t we? It’s probably the best I’ve ever
seen since I’ve been a player,” Keane said Tuesday of Ireland’s
hordes of traveling fans that have made the trip to eastern
The much-traveled Los Angeles Galaxy striker has played for 10
clubs across four countries and made 118 appearances for Ireland,
taking in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
That was the last time Ireland qualified for an international
tournament and its fans are taking advantage of having less
distance to travel 10 years on, making their trademark colorful
impression at Euro 2012.
Despite an opening 3-1 loss to Croatia on Sunday, thousands of
supporters are expected to decamp from Poznan and head north to
Gdansk for the team’s second game, against Spain.
”Because it’s a bit closer to home now, the support is
absolutely magnificent,” Keane said. ”Before the game (on Sunday)
was probably one of the best atmospheres I’ve witnessed for a long,
Ireland’s injury problems eased Tuesday at the squad’s training
base in Gdynia on Tuesday. Defender Richard Dunne was fit to take
part after missing Monday’s session with blisters and midfielder
Darron Gibson also trained after having a scan on a thigh
Coach Giovanni Trapattoni gave hints about possible changes for
the Spain match, most notably pairing Keane with Jonathan Walters
in a practice game during the session, suggesting Kevin Doyle may
drop to the bench.
But assistant coach Marco Tardelli said not too much should be
read into that change.
”We could have another solution (for Spain),” he said. ”Or
maybe we can play the same team. We have a few days to
A draw against Spain would keep Ireland’s qualification hopes
alive going into the final match against Italy.
”We go into every game hoping to get three points so that would
be the main aim,” Keane said. ”It’s very difficult as a player to
go into a game thinking you just want to get a point. It wouldn’t
be the end of the world if we get a point though.”