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Sep 6, 2013

Robbie Keane: Loss will kill Irish hopes

Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane believes his nation's World Cup dream will die if Sweden win at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Friday night.

• Maher: Moment of truth

The in-form LA Galaxy striker will lead Ireland into battle against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his Swedish team-mates knowing a win would leave them in pole position to claim a play-off place in the bid to qualify for next summer's World Cup finals.

Yet Keane accepts his last chance to appear in another World Cup will almost certainly fade if Giovanni Trapattoni's men are beaten on home soil or in the subsequent qualifier against Austria on Tuesday night.

"These two games are make or break and these are the games that the players have been looking forward to," states Keane.

"We kind of knew that it was going to come down to this between ourselves, Sweden and Austria, so it's a game, certainly, we can't afford to lose, there's no question about that.

"People are talking about going in and trying to get a draw, but you go into every game trying to get the three points. Obviously, it depends on the situation, the circumstances of when you are playing and we will be going into the game to try to get the three points.

"It's certainly a game we are going into to get the three points, but the most important thing is certainly not to lose the game."

Trapattoni has named a positive line-up for the qualifier against Sweden, with Stoke's Jon Walters, West Bromwich Albion striker Shane Long, Wigan's James McClean, Everton new boy James McCarthy and Keane all named as starters.

QPR's Richard Dunne makes his expected return at the heart of the defence, for what will be his first international start since last summer's Euro 2012 finals.

Ireland team to face Sweden: D Forde; S Coleman, R Dunne, J O’Shea, M Wilson; J Walters, G Whelan, J McCarthy, J McClean; S Long, R Keane.

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