Robbie Keane: Ireand v Germany 2002
Words from Ronan Murphy.
After an eight year gap between major tournaments, the 2002 World Cup felt overdue for Ireland. We had assembled a fantastic squad with young talent combining with experienced heads and the nation was excited about being on the big stage. However, on the eve of the tournament a row between Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane looked set to jeopardise everything we had been eagerly awaiting. The country was divided, the camp was split.
But when the football happened, those 90 minutes of football united the country once more. A draw against Cameroon set Ireland up nicely before taking on the giants of Germany. Ireland went behind, but never gave up and with time running out, a long ball was knocked down by Niall Quinn to Robbie Keane, who squeezed the ball past Oliver Khan to earn a draw that was no more than Ireland deserved. It was more important than a winning goal against a weaker side as it proved Ireland belonged at the World Cup and confirmed Robbie Keane's arrival as a top-class international goalscorer.
Ronan Murphy is a football journalist for Goal.com Writing and talking about Bundesliga, Irish Football, World Soccer. Follow his coverage here: twitter.com/swearimnotpaul
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