Keane staying positive
Robbie Keane is remaining positive ahead of the Republic of Ireland's crucial World Cup qualifier in Italy.
Last Updated: 29/03/09 7:54pm
Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane is remaining positive ahead of his side's crucial World Cup qualifier in Italy on Wednesday.
The Irish head into the game in a healthy position at the halfway stage in World Cup qualifying Group Eight - in second place, seven points clear of the chasing pack.
But it could have been even better for Giovanni Trapattoni's side, had they held on to a one goal lead against Bulgaria, whom they eventually drew 1-1 with after Kevin Kilbane's late own goal.
But Keane is not too downbeat, especially as Trapattoni issued a rallying call to his troops in the aftermath of the draw.
The skipper said: "He was saying, 'Pick yourselves back up, we didn't lose'. We have to look at the overall picture.
"Obviously, we are disappointed after going a goal ahead in the first minute.
"But we have to look at ourselves in the situation and I think we probably would have taken this at the start of the campaign, the position we are in at the moment and how many points we are ahead of Cyprus and Bulgaria.
"We would have taken that at the start of the campaign. We knew Italy were going to be the favourites.
"Obviously we want to push them and hopefully get to the top of the table, but I think people are thinking now we are going to get second."
Keane, who spent six months in Italy with Inter Milan early in his career, added: "As long as you don't lose, that's the most important thing.
"They are the world champions and it is going to be a tough game, but we have got to frustrate them, we have got to keep the ball.
"They are a good footballing side and we know it is going to be tough, but we have got a lot of character in this team and there's no reason why we can't go there on Wednesday and get a result."
Kilbane also refused to be downbeat, despite his unfortunate own goal.
He said: "The manager said straight away after the game, 'We look forward now to the Italy game'.
"We have to go there full of confidence, we have to pick ourselves up very, very quickly.
"It's a big game for us and a big test, and I am sure everyone is going to relish the challenge.
"Italy are a strong side and if we can stay on their coat-tails, that's going to help us.
"We go there to try to get a result, and then it goes back here to Dublin, that's what we are hoping, later on in the year."