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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Turbulent time for Irish
Jason McAteer in agony after picking up knee injury in pre-World Cup match
McAteer has now fully recovered from injury
BBC Sport Online's Lyle Jackson

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Bad turbulence in mid-air brought the Republic of Ireland party back down to earth on Wednesday.

A white-knuckle ride for the nervous fliers ended with everyone landing safely in Korea to prepare for Sunday's second phase game in Suwon.

Mick McCarthy and his men departed from Tokyo in buoyant mood, fresh from their 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia which stamped their ticket to the last 16.

Midfielder Jason McAteer was upbeat fter getting back into the action as a second half substitute against the Saudis.

Birthday boy

Now he has the opportunity to win his 50th cap for the Republic in Sunday's game.

And the Sunderland man will have extra cause for celebration if the Irish can make it to the quarter-finals, as he celebrates his 31st birthday two days later.

"It would be brilliant to celebrate my birthday out here, I would be really up for that," said McAteer who missed the German game as he had not fully recovered from a knee injury.

"I was pleased to get on against Saudi Arabia and test the knee. "It is fine and, as the saying goes, I am available for selection."


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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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