Do or die for Ireland says Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane had given Ireland a 22nd-minute lead against Sweden at Lansdowne Road with his 60th international goal. But Johan Elmander's first-half equaliser killed any Irish momentum and Anders Svensson's 57th-minute strike completed the win for Sweden.
Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has warned his teammates their World Cup dream will be over if they lose against Austria on Tuesday.
Giovanni Trapattoni's team are in danger of missing out on next year's finals in Brazil after Friday's 2-1 home defeat to Sweden, which left Ireland three points adrift of second place in Group C with just three games left to play.
Now LA Galaxy striker Keane acknowledges only a victory against Austria at the Ernst Happel Stadion would give Ireland hope of fighting back in the race to qualify.
"You don't really need to tell the players. We have a game on Tuesday and if we don't get anything out of it, it's 'finito', it's as simple as that," Keane said.
"If they can't get themselves up for these games knowing how important the game is, then there's a serious problem."
Keane had given Ireland a 22nd-minute lead against Sweden at Lansdowne Road with his 60th international goal.
But Johan Elmander's first-half equaliser killed any Irish momentum and Anders Svensson's 57th-minute strike completed the win for Sweden.
Keane conceded the result had left morale in the Ireland dressing room at a low ebb, but he is hopeful they will rise to the challenge of beating Austria.
"How would you not be disappointed? But that's the good thing about football, there's always another game," he said.
"Our main focus now is on Tuesday and we have to get our heads right for that game.
"It's simple: we have to win the game. There are no ifs or buts, we have to win it."
Sweden boss Erik Hamren claimed he had been surprised at the direct approach the Republic had taken during an opening half hour when they looked capable of establishing a commanding lead.
But having ridden out the early storm, the visitors settled and controlled much of what was to follow with their hosts simply unable to impose themselves once again.
"When they got their goal, they obviously shut up shop and played a lot in midfield, where it was hard for our midfielders to get on the ball and make things happen," Keane added.
"They kind of made us hit that long ball, if you like. It certainly has been a good weapon for us in the past and we probably got our goal from that.
"But listen, it doesn't matter, we can stand here all day and say ifs and buts. At the end of the day, we lost the game."