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Friday 15 December 2017

'Germany a better team than us but we got what we deserved' - Robbie Keane

14 October 2014; Republic of Ireland players Robbie Keane, Jeff Hendrick and Darron Gibson celebrate at the end of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, Germany v Republic of Ireland, Veltins Stadium, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
14 October 2014; Republic of Ireland players Robbie Keane, Jeff Hendrick and Darron Gibson celebrate at the end of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, Germany v Republic of Ireland, Veltins Stadium, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

AS the last batch of Ireland fans vacated German soil last night and flew home, the German nation was left to pick up the pieces of what's been a truly disastrous week for the Mannschaft.

Local media, already querying coach Joachim Loew and the batch of post-Brazil 2014 players, have delved deeper in their questioning of how the World Cup holders can 'only' finish with one point from what was seen as a winnable double header against Poland and Ireland, two nations who have never beaten the Germans in a competitive international.

For Robbie Keane, however, that approach is unfair and he sees Tuesday's 1-1 draw in the Veltins Arena as more a case of Ireland getting what they deserved and less a case of Germany having a slump.

"I wasn't too interested in the Germans the other night, I was more interested in what we were doing," a straight-faced Keane said when he was asked by a reporter from German radio about the home side's display.

"What happened was more down to us than them. I have mentioned before the work-rate from every player, trying to stop Germany from getting opportunities. They Germans had their first opportunity early on when they hit the crossbar, after that I can't remember too many opportunities that they had.

"They had a lot of possession without really hurting us, the shape from everyone was very good. It was more a case of us keeping them at bay than them being poor.

"The way we defended and worked for each other, the work-rate was brilliant - and that's what you need when you play against these teams. Germany are a better team than us, there's no getting away from that. Possession-wise, they keep it but if you don't work hard for each other you have no chance, we worked hard and got our rewards."

While John O'Shea took the unlikely plaudits of the goal-scoring her- even the Waterford man himself admitted that a previous tally of two goals from 99 caps was poor - Keane bore a broad smile after the Germany game which had echoes of another 1-1 draw against Germany, in the 2002 World Cup finals.

"The feeling on the bench, you could see the players and staff on the bench, it was a great moment for John on his 100th cap to score with the last kick of the game, it doesn't get better than that," says Keane, who was on the bench when the late goal was scored as he'd been replaced earlier by Darron Gibson.

"It's up there in terms of my career, they were world champions only four months ago, we're not playing against an average team, we're up against a tough, tough team and we made it difficult for them at times. They had a lot of possession without really doing anything or hurting us. This is what dreams are made of, moments like this - in 10 years' time you will look back, John O'Shea will look back, and be proud of this moment."

Keane didn't finish the game while others, like Shane Long and Anthony Pilington, spent the international week without any game time but Keane says that's part of the game.

"We need everyone, we need a squad of players. Players have to work their socks off and it doesn't matter if you play for just 60 minutes and someone else comes on because you have to use the squad, we have done that in the last few games and it's worked for us," said the skipper.

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