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Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 21:00 UK

Given aims for return to finals

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER Rep of Ireland v Italy
Venue: Croke Park Date: 10 October Kick off: 2000 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, updates on BBC website


Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given
Shay Given will win his 99th Republic of Ireland cap against Italy

Shay Given will have another appearance in the World Cup finals in his sights as he wins his 99th Republic of Ireland cap against Italy on Saturday night.

Keeper Given played in Mick McCarthy's team of 2002 in Japan and South Korea and is desperate to qualify again.

"It was the highlight of my Irish career," said the Manchester City star.

"There will be young guys growing up in Ireland wanting to support us in South Africa next year, and it is up to us to get the country there."

Even if the Irish did pull off a win over the world champions, they would still have work to do against Montenegro in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

Italy are currently four points clear at the top of Group Eight and hot favourites to claim the one automatic qualification spot.

However, Given, whose side need two more points to at least clinch a play-off spot, is determined to heap as much pressure as possible on Marcello Lippi's men for the final game at home to Cyprus.

He said: "Of course we would love to top the group, and that rules out the play-offs.

"But Italy are in the driving seat and even if they lose on Saturday, they have still got Cyprus at home on the Wednesday.

"But we would like to put the pressure on the Italians in the last game.

"We need two points to guarantee second and hopefully, we can get three on Saturday and then we will see what happens on Wednesday."

Given, like full-back Kevin Kilbane, will win his 99th senior international cap, if selected, against the Italians, and they would then become just the second and third Irishmen to complete a century against Montenegro, following in the footsteps of Steve Staunton.



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see also
Rowlands called up by Trapattoni
06 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni extends Republic stay
25 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni focusing on Italy game
06 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni hails 'important' win
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Cyprus 1-2 Republic of Ireland
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Rep of Ireland XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals


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