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Fit again Robbie Keane gives Ireland boost for Estonia clashes

| 07.11.2011

Ireland’s chances of qualifying for Euro 2012 have got a lot better with Robbie Keane returning to fitness and form ahead of their play-off clashes with Estonia.

Despite getting the perfect draw against the minnows, there had been concern about Ireland’s attacking options for the clash.

Keane was injured during their 2-0 win against Andorra back in October and Kevin Doyle is missing for the first play-off game after getting sent off in their final group game against Armenia.

However, Keane returned quicker than anticipated and played his first full game for LA Galaxy in their 3-1 win against Real Salt Lake over the weekend.

He also played crucial role – scoring a brilliant third to put the Galaxy in the MLS Cup final on November 20.

With Newcastle United striker Leon Best injuring his groin in the Magpies’ 2-1 win over Everton on Saturday, the return of Keane is even more crucial for Giovanni Trapattoni.

Keane has scored 51 goals in 112 games for Ireland and his cool head and experience will be vitally important for the Irish out in Estonia.

Ireland are the 8/11 favourites for their first-leg clash in Estonia and are massive 4/9 favourites to qualify.

Meanwhile, Portugal also have a forward who isn’t doing too badly either.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick – his 12th for the club – in their 7-1 demolition of Osasuna and now prepares to face Bosnia away in Portugal’s first-leg play-off game.

Portugal are also 11/8 favourites to win that clash and are 2/5 to qualify over the two games.



Richard Anderson