Given - We'll play to win
Shay Given has insisted the Republic of Ireland will not go in search of a draw against Armenia despite knowing that would be enough.
Last Updated: 08/10/11 5:40pm
Shay Given has insisted the Republic of Ireland will not go in search of a draw against Armenia on Tuesday despite knowing that a point would be enough to secure Euro 2012 qualification.
Russia's 1-0 victory in Slovakia on Friday night means they will top Group B if they beat pointless Andorra in Moscow in the final round of fixtures.
The Republic had hoped Slovakia could throw the group wide open once again by completing a double over the Russians, meaning a maximum haul from their final two games, in Andorra on Friday night and at home to Armenia on Tuesday, would hand them automatic qualification instead.
Unless Andorra can pull off a surprise of epic proportions - and there was little evidence that they could as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat by Ireland at the Estadi Comunal on Friday night - Given and his team-mates will have to make do with second place and a play-off spot.
One more point would ensure that, but Armenia are targeting a play-off spot themselves after a fine run of form and Given believes it would be a mistake to be too cautious.
Given said: "They have scored eight goals in the last two games, so they are really on a high at the minute, so it will be a big test for us all on Tuesday night.
"A draw is enough for us, but we don't want to be holding out for a draw because anything can happen in the last minute.
"Hopefully we can go and win the game and it puts them out of the way."
Given perhaps had more time than most to contemplate what might be happening in Zilina as Ireland eased to victory through Kevin Doyle's seventh-minute strike and an Ildefons Lima own goal 13 minutes later.
The Aston Villa keeper said: "We thought maybe Slovakia could have done us a turn, but it wasn't to be.
"Andorra might beat Russia on Tuesday night, you never know!
"They look like they are topping the group, but they were favourites from the start. They are a huge country.
"We have got a huge chance on Tuesday night, but we know Armenia are coming strongly behind us as well, so it's going to be a tough game.
"We know it's going to be tough, but as I said, I don't think we can hold out for a draw.
"We have got some very good attacking players of our own and we have got to cause them some problems at the other end, and hopefully we can grab a couple of goals."
Stephen Ward will be a frustrated bystander when his Republic of Ireland team-mates attempt to keep their Euro 2012 dreams alive.
The 26-year-old Wolves full-back is suspended for the match against Armenia after picking up his second caution of the campaign during Friday night's 2-0 win.
Ward said: "I thought it was very harsh, to be honest. He clipped me as I went down, so I don't think I intentionally had a dive.
"I don't think it was a yellow card.
"It's just one of those things, it's disappointing. He clipped me, so what else can I do? It should have been a penalty.
"All the lads have seen it and they think it was as well."
Looking ahead to the prospect of being a spectator in midweek, Ward added: "It's going to be a nightmare, but I am sure the lads will be fine.
"We have enough in the side to beat them and make sure we definitely at least get the play-off spot."