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banner Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 14:55 GMT
Ireland on the offensive
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy
Mick McCarthy hopes to force Iran to defend in Tehran
Iran (0) v (2) Republic of Ireland

The game will be broadcast live on BBC Two at 1400 GMT on Thursday 15 November.

The Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has said his team will not be defensive in the second leg of the World Cup play-off against Iran.

The Irish are 2-0 up after last Saturday's first game in Dublin, but McCarthy vowed that they would go on the attack in the return game.

"We are going to make Iran defend by attacking them. We have not come to defend," said McCarthy at a news conference on Tuesday.

The Republic manager also said Roy Keane's absence was not a major blow.

Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane
Roy Keane will not play in the second leg

The Manchester United skipper pulled out of the second leg because of his ongoing knee problems.

Matt Holland and Mark Kinsella will take on key roles in midfield.

"Roy Keane did not make it, but the heart of my team is the whole team," McCarthy said.

The Ireland manager said Iran could not afford to be as defensive as they were in the first leg.

"We had to break down 11 people at times, 10 men and their goalkeeper," McCarthy said.

"The home side desperately wants to win, probably expects to win, but in attacking, they will open up the game and give us opportunities."

McCarthy believed the Republic's players would not be under pressure playing in front of a 120,000 partisan crowd.

"I think it would be wonderful, they will make a lot of noise and that can give us inspiration too," he said.

It is not unusual for up to 120,000 fans to cram into the 100,000 capacity Azadi stadium west of Tehran for important games.

Fans, many arriving on buses from provinces, line up overnight outside the stadium.

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy
"We're well prepared"
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