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banner Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 11:32 GMT
Robbie chases away goal
Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane scores in the first-leg against Iran
Iran v Republic of Ireland
Azardi Stadium, Tehran - Kick-off 1400 GMT

Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane knows that one goal could well be enough to clinch his country's place in next summer's World Cup finals.

Keane will be looking to carry on where he left off at Lansdowne Road on Saturday, but won't mind if he doesn't score it as long as Mick McCarthy's side qualify.

"Whether it is me or somebody else who gets a goal in this game, the only important thing is for the team to go through," the Leeds forward said.

"Every striker lives on goals and is judged by them, I'm no different. We've got a huge job to do and the priority is to get through it by any fair means we can."


We've not come here to entertain a 120,000 crowd
Mick McCarthy

Until last Saturday, he had gone eight internationals without scoring, despite being in hot form so far this season for his club.

The stakes are huge for the Irish, with up to 50m on the line for just reaching the finals,

So nobody is betting against McCarthy protecting the two-goal advantage with at least a cautious adaptation of his usual 4-4-2 formation.

He admitted: "We've not come here to entertain a 120,000 crowd. We've got to have a system that is flexible because any good system is just that."

If Ireland's veteran striker Niall Quinn is ruled out by his back problem, McCarthy has the option of recalling David Connolly.

But the manager could also play Keane as a lone striker.

He opted for that the last time Ireland lost a competitive match in Croatia 16 games ago, and suffered a torrent of criticism for it even though they were only undone by a goal in stoppage time.

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Former Irish international Ray Houghton
"It's going to be a difficult game"
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