DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s Robbie Keane will be ready to face Group D leaders Germany in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Thursday despite arriving late from the United States after the birth of his second son.
Ireland’s assistant manager Roy Keane, asked if the 35-year-old LA Galaxy striker would be available for the match, told reporters: “Yes, why wouldn’t he be? He didn’t have the baby. Unless he’s breastfeeding, he should be all right.”
Striker Keane, who has scored 67 goals in 142 games for Ireland since 1998, was a member of the team that managed a 1-1 draw away to Germany in Gelsenkirchen last October.
Another draw would keep alive Ireland’s hopes of a playoff spot for the finals but they face an in-form Germany side who have since won five qualifiers in a row after a poor start.
The Irish, currently third, are four points ahead of Scotland, who face Group D’s second-placed team Poland in Glasgow on Thursday.
“I think we are a stronger team. Like you’d expect with any campaign, teams improve. We were still new to the job at the time and, yes, I think we are a better team,” said the Ireland assistant manager of their draw with the Germans.
“But certainly Germany’s form, as you’d have expected — they were a bit sluggish at the start but with all the qualities they have it was only a matter of time before they started winning and topped the group, no doubt. But we will be ready.”
Ireland, who face Poland in Warsaw on Sunday in their final group match, know a victory in one of their last two matches will guarantee at least third spot and a playoff place.
(Reporting by Ken Ferris; Editing by Julian Linden)