- Breaking News
- Today's Paper
- Text Only
- Family Notices
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Robbie Keane has admitted the European Championship was the lowest point of his Republic of Ireland career but denied more could have been done to prevent their early exit.
The post-mortem into Ireland’s pointless Euro 2012 campaign was under way yesterday, amid accusations Giovanni Trapattoni’s men embarrassed themselves on their return to the biggest stage.
Captain Keane, who had waited a decade for another crack at a major finals, did not shy away from the fact the last week-and-a-half had been as bad a spell as he had known during his 120-cap career.
"Of course," said the striker, who may yet be one of a number of the squad to retire from international football in the coming weeks.
"If you don’t get something out of a tournament or at least get a few points on the board, it’s certainly disappointing."
The manner of Ireland’s exit — one goal scored, nine conceded — has led to criticism of Trapattoni’s preparation and tactics.
There have been claims some of his players were unhappy with a rigorous pre-tournament training camp — something that had echoes of England’s 2010 World Cup debacle.
But Los Angeles Galaxy star Keane, who insisted there was "not a chance" of Trapattoni being ousted as manager, said: "Everything has been fine. There are no excuses. We can stand here and say this, that and the other. We couldn’t have prepared better than we had. We’ve been beaten by teams that are superior to us. That’s it, simple as that."
Keane also scoffed at suggestions Ireland should have torn up the game plan from their successful qualifying campaign once they arrived in Poland and Ukraine.
"That’s just going against everything we’ve done in the last four years," said the 31-year-old. "The way we’ve played, we’ve played for four years under Trap.
"It would be wrong to go into a tournament and try to change it."
Ireland were always going to be up against it to qualify from a group that contained three teams ranked in the top 10 in the world.
But their qualifying campaign suggested they would be much harder to beat than they proved until Monday night’s battling display against Italy.
Speaking after the 2-0 Group B defeat, Keane said: "The teams that we played against have been a lot better than us. It’s been disappointing for everyone, of course. You want to do the best you can and make the country proud.
"I don’t know whether the players could have done any more than what they did. They gave it 100%.
"Sometimes, you just have to hold your hands up and say, ‘we’ve been beaten by better teams’."
Goalkeeper Shay Given, who is also considering his international future, claimed none of the squad could have foreseen what was to come when they arrived in Poland.
"I don’t think anybody did," said the 36-year-old, who earned a record 125th cap on Monday night.
Given endured a nightmare tournament but refused to use an injury in the build-up as an excuse for several costly blunders.
He said: "I was 100% fit to play, and when you cross the white line, it’s over to you."
© Irish Examiner Ltd, City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork. Registered in Ireland: 523712.