Kilbane intent on reaching another World Cup

Kilbane intent on reaching another World Cup

Kevin Kilbane is one of the few Republic of Ireland squad members to experience the joys ....
8th Oct 2009


Kevin Kilbane is one of the few Republic of Ireland squad members to experience the joys of playing in a World Cup finals tournament and the 32-year-old believes that feat of 2002 can be emulated by the current panel.


Ireland take on Italy on Saturday night still in with a chance of edging out the World Champions for top spot in the group and, with it, and automatic route into next year's tournament in South Africa.


A shot at reaching the showpiece via the play-offs will be secured for Giovanni Trapatonni's side, too, should they claim two points from the matches against Italy and Montenegro over the next six days.


The Hull City man said: "The only thing we have to be focused on is that we beat Italy and try to secure the play-off spot first and foremost.


"Then we have just got to hope Cyprus can do us a favour on the Wednesday. But - if we beat Italy - we will be doing okay.


"When we came in after the game over there (in Bari in April), we were a little bit disappointed that we didn't win the game, and that we conceded so soon after them going down to ten men.


"But, on the night, we did play well and we know we are capable of causing them problems, so certainly this week in Dublin we feel we can win the game - definitely."

He added: "Italy know a point is good enough for them to qualify, and they are the masters of getting results when they need them, so we know we have to be on our guard throughout the whole ninety minutes.


"We can't concede and if we stay in the game - right to the last minute if needs be - we know we are capable of scoring.


"During the Japan and Korea campaign, it was definitely a little bit of hunger and desire from the younger players that we had - myself included - at that time, really wanting to go to a World Cup and try to achieve something.


"I am certainly feeling that from the younger lads who have come into the fold now.


'I would love to go back and experience another World Cup. I am very, very honoured and very proud that I have played in one.


"It's certainly in my thoughts that if we can go back, I have got to try to really go there and give a good account of myself."


Currently on 98 caps, Kilbane can hit the century mark by next week and he admits it's difficult not to think about reaching that milestone.


"I am trying to concentrate on the Italy game, but it is in my mind," he said. "Since I got into the nineties, everybody keeps bringing it up. I have to concentrate on the Italy game because that has got to be at the forefront of my mind, but yes, I am fully aware that at the end of the Montenegro game next week, I could be on 100.


"I have managed to stay relatively injury-free and other players have been injured when they stepped into the positions I have played in. A little bit of luck and the fact I have managed to play in a few positions has definitely helped."

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