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Thursday 17 August 2017

O'Neill draws veil over preparations for Germany

8 October 2014; Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane with manager Martin O'Neill during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday. Republic of Ireland Squad Training, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
8 October 2014; Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane with manager Martin O'Neill during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday. Republic of Ireland Squad Training, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

MARTIN O'Neill cancelled training in the Veltins Arena last night and drew a veil over his preparations for a massive Euro 2016. Group D qualifier against Germany.

Ireland trained in Portmarnock before they journeyed to their base in Bocum and O'Neill is clearly desperate to avoid handing Jogi Low any information about his plans.

Flanked by skipper Robbie Keane, usually a clear sign that he is starting, O'Neill refused to reveal any aspect of his team selection and even left a doubt over whether Ireland's record goal scorer would line out against Germany.

"I wouldn't assume anything at the moment. Robert has been a splendid player for the Republic of Ireland for some time and he got his third hat trick. He was captain when I stepped in and I saw no reason to change it. As my assistant mentioned, he's our best goalscorer."

O'Neill does not accept that defeat by Poland has left the Germans vulnerable and he still believes that they will top Group D.

"Germany have a history of whatever sort of setbacks they've had before they come roaring back quickly. They had most of the possession against Poland and should have been 2-0 up by half-time.

"Regardless of the retirements they have had, I think they will pretty formidable," he added.

No surprise that O'Neill has spent some time analysing the game in Warsaw last Saturday but he will not try to copy the Polish approach and has his own ideas about how to do it.

"Germany are Germany and while I can look at the Polish approach, we'll have our own approach to the game. Germany a very fine side, let's not beat around the bush, top quality team, top quality players.

"After all, it's only four months since they held the world championship trophy aloft," claimed O'Neill.

"We hope to have a game plan which will frustrate and work to our advantage. It's a game that you relish. We're looking forward and we are going into the match with some confidence.

"It's a great occasion and not just for the younger players but for the senior players as well. To be competing against such great players and trying to get something out of the game is fantastic," added O'Neill.

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