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'We're so near yet so far but if we're still in the tie after the first leg, then bring it on'

Roy Keane was on ITV’s Champions League programme last night.

ROY KEANE ADMITS Ireland are ‘so near yet so far’ from qualifying for next summer’s World Cup, but has issued a warning against being overly optimistic heading into the play-offs.

Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane Martin O'Neill and Keane at Tuesday's draw in Switzerland. Source: Andy Mueller/INPHO

The Boys in Green were paired with Denmark in Tuesday’s draw and will go head-to-head with Age Hareide’s team over two legs next month with a place in Russia on the line.

Speaking on ITV’s Champions League coverage last night, Keane said Ireland wanted to avoid Italy but warned against taking anything for granted against a Danish team with plenty of quality.

“We were probably hoping to avoid Italy,” the Ireland assistant manager said. “They will be very strong and well capable of qualifying for World Cups.

“I think Martin has done a great job and the players have been brilliant. We’re so near yet so far and have a tough couple of games ahead. In case we need to remind anyone, Denmark are the seeded team, so it is going to be difficult.”

Ireland will travel to Copenhagen for the first leg on Saturday 11 November before returning to the Aviva Stadium three days later for the second leg.

“I wasn’t too worried about where the second leg would be, we were focused more on the draw,” Keane added.

“I suppose so [better being at home in the second leg], but it depends on how the first leg goes. If we lose 4-0 in the first leg it’s going to be hard going but we look forward to it, our supporters have been brilliant and if we’re still in the tie after the first leg, then bring it on.”

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Ryan Bailey

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