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Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
It's a family affair
Jason McAteer's brother, Sam, and sister, Beverley
BBC Sport Online's Lyle Jackson

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The first World Cup to be staged in Asia has been a family affair for several of the Republic of Ireland players.

Relatives of Mick McCarthy and his team have come out to the Far East to lend their support to the boys in green.

Among them are midfielder Jason McAteer's brother Sam and sister Beverley. They have been staying close to the squad's base in Chiba, a suburb of Tokyo.

"The team has done very well so far," said Sam who plays football himself for West Cheshire League outfit Tessuti.

"I think it helps that the players are not under so much pressure.

"England are expected to win every game and win the World Cup.

"But Ireland have just drawn two games and the reaction has been phenomenal.

"I do not know what will happen when they do win a game.

"I think they are going to go through. The result against Germany was fantastic.

"If they do go to Korea I will not be able to go with them as, unfortunately, I will be heading home to my job as an assistant accountant.

"There has been a great atmosphere out here and the supporters have been amazing."

Sam's enthusiasm for Japan does not extend to food and the 23-year-old has shied away from the sushi.

"I am a pasta man myself and I tend to stick to the western foods. But Beverley will try anything, so she has sampled it."

Also in Chiba are forward Damien Duff's parents Gerard and Mary.

The Duff family
The Duff family

"It is absolutely fantastic out here," said Gerard.

"The people are so friendly and we have had absolutely no problems whatsoever.

"We have been privileged to be out here to see our son play.

"The team is doing well and you could not ask for anything more.

"I do not think you can write Saudi Arabia off in the next game but I think we will score the two goals we need to get through to the next stage.

"I would love to see Damien get on the scoresheet. He has been in excellent form and was very close to scoring the other night against Germany.

"Damien has been in the spotlight a bit but it does not seem to bother him.

"He is a quiet lad who just likes to keep himself to himself."

Gerard and Mary had more than Ireland's late equaliser against Germany to celebrate on Wednesday.

When they returned to their hotel there was a big party for their 31st wedding anniversary.

"We had a cake, the whole lot, and you cannot breathe in the bedroom for the flowers which were delivered," said Mary.

If Ireland qualify for the last 16, Mary may travel on to Korea, but Gerard plans to go home as daughter Lyndsey is doing her leaving exams.


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GROUP E
  P GD PTS
GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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