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Coleman on life as captain, Robbie's Germany goal and the road to Russia

The Ireland captain is hoping to guide his side to their first World Cup finals in 16 years.

The defender scored his first international goal in their qualifier against Georgia.
The defender scored his first international goal in their qualifier against Georgia.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“AS A KID growing up I always wanted to play for Ireland but to captain the country even tops that.”

Ireland captain Seamus Coleman is clearly more than happy about his new post. And he sure has his eyes set firmly on the prize as he prepares his side for this weekend’s clash with Austria.

Coleman, who plays his club football with Everton, is hoping to guide Ireland to their first World Cup finals in 16 years.

“I remember the Robbie Keane goal like it was yesterday,” he said about the last-minute equaliser against Germany at the group stages of the 2002 World Cup. “It was an unbelievable moment and a moment that most Irish fans will always remember, they’ll know where they were when that goal went in.

“It was a great time to support the country, a great tournament and hopefully we can give the younger generation something to cheer about by qualifying for the next one.

The defender took the captain’s armband off Robbie Keane after Euro 2016 and feels like he has quite a lot to live up to.

“Taking over from Robbie is a massive step. You’re not going to replace what Robbie did on the pitch but if I can take even a snippet of his enthusiasm and his pride for his country then I will have done well.

“He is a very proud Irishman, loved playing for his country and he let the lads know what it meant to pull on that green shirt. So if I can take a little bit of that and pass it on, that’s all I’ll be looking to do because I can’t see me scoring 68 goals!” he told Everton in an interview on their club website. 

With two wins and a draw under their belt, a win over Austria would put Martin O’Neill’s side in a comfortable position in Group D.

Coleman feels that Irish fans have a huge part to play however, if his side are to qualify for Russia.

“They’ve really helped us get results over the years, especially when we played Italy [at Euro 2016] when we needed something out there and we got a massive result that made us qualify out of the group.

“The fans travelled to the Euros and made themselves heard and they always behave themselves very well which is important as well when you go away. I’m very proud to play for supporters that are so passionate about their country.”

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