Keane wants positive approach against Sweden
Skipper knows next two games are make or break
Keane said: “The manner in which we were beaten by Germany was more disappointing than anything else. Probably people expected us to be beaten, but not in that manner.
“We just went about our business in the same way. We know we have players in this team, characters in this team with good, strong mentalities and we have shown that since that Germany game.
“If you look at our record – take away the Euros and our record over the last few years, for such a small nation, is very, very good, so we will look to continue that tomorrow night.”
Keane heads into the game still enjoying the status of the nation’s most likely match-winner after taking his goals tally to 59 with a hat-trick against the Faroe Islands in June.
He is currently in a rich vein of form for his club LA Galaxy too — seven of his 12 goals to date this season have come in his last four games — and he will, as he has done for much of the last 16 years, be the focal point of their attack.
The corresponding role for Sweden will be performed by Paris St Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ireland will hope to keep as tight a rein on him in Dublin as they did in the 0-0 draw in Stockholm in March.
Keane said: “You can’t play well in every game. With players like Zlatan, everyone is watching him to see what he’s going to do and thinking he is going to do something special all the time.
“But sometimes, it doesn’t work like that and the way we played in Stockholm certainly frustrated the Swedish team and they didn’t get much service to Zlatan, so in that respect it was probably a difficult game for him.
“You can’t play well all the time and hopefully tomorrow we can keep him quiet as well because we know how important he is to Sweden and at any given time, he can produce something out of nowhere, so we have to be very, very wary of him.”
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (v Sweden, Aviva Stadium, Friday, 7.45pm): D Forde (Millwall), S Coleman (Everton), R Dunne (QPR), J O’Shea (Sunderland), M Wilson (Stoke City), J Walters (Stoke City), G Whelan (Stoke City), J McCarthy (Everton), J McClean (Wigan Athletic), R Keane (LA Galaxy, capt), S Long (West Brom).