Football

Ranking All Of Robbie Keane's Key Late Goals For Ireland

Ranking All Of Robbie Keane's Key Late Goals For Ireland

Robbie Keane is one of the most prolific international goalscorers of all time. Notching a remarkable 68 goals in 148 international caps, he had no shortage of memorable moments in an Ireland jersey.

That included plenty of dramatic moments late in games, when Keane was usually the man to pop up when Ireland needed a goal.

We have ranked all his most important late goals at international level, judging them based on a couple of criteria. Firstly we looked at the quality of the goal itself, then we also took into account the importance of the game.

Here's what we came up with.

10. Ireland 3-2 Czech Republic (23/2/00) - 87th minute winner

A game so insignificant that we couldn't find any highlights of it, this friendly fixture did provide Keane's first late winner for his country.

We had to put it last considering the occasion and lack of footage, but The Guardian describes a scrappy late winner from the striker in their match report:

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Finally the pressure tells as one more corner from the right, taken by McAteer is met by Ian Harte and the ball falls to Robbie Keane five yards out and it doesn't matter how bad a night he's having - he doesn't miss chances like this.

The least significant of the bunch.

 

9. Estonia 0-4 Ireland (11/11/11) -  A 90th minute penalty to seal our Euros spot

This game was no doubt a huge occasion for Ireland, but by the time Keane stepped up to take a late penalty, our spot at Euro 2012 had all but been secured.

Ireland ran out comfortable 4-0 winners in Tallinn, with a 1-1 draw in the second leg ensuring smooth passage through to the finals.

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The fact that his goal came from the spot kick and with the game already won means it ranks fairly low here, although Keane did score the third goal of the game as well.

8. Kazakhstan 1-2 Ireland (7/9/12) - 89th minute penalty starts late comeback

This was almost one of the most embarrassing results in Ireland's history, entering the final moments trailing 1-0.

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Keane won the penalty himself, standing up to convert it in the 89th minute. Kevin Doyle would go on to snatch a dramatic winner deep into injury time.

Unfortunately, this would be the start of a disastrous campaign for Ireland. They would end up finishing fourth in their group, with Giovanni Trapattoni losing his job with two fixtures still to play.

 

7. Cyprus 1-2 Ireland (5/9/09) -  83rd minute winner

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Ireland had recent demons against Cyprus during this period, having suffered that embarrassing 5-2 defeat a three years previous, as well as a draw against them in the same campaign.

Keane had scored an early winner in a nervy game at Croke Park in the home fixture in this campaign, a trick he would repeat in Cyprus.

He produced a decent header to beat a stranded goalkeeper, with the extra two points he provided in this one helping to put Ireland on their way to the World Cup play-offs.

 

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6. Ireland 1-1 Turkey  - Gives Ireland a 79th minute lead in Euro 2000 play-off 

This goal looked to be far more significant at the time, with Keane's goal giving Ireland a massive lead in the tie.

Unfortunately the Turks would equalise a few minutes later, with a 0-0 draw in the second leg ensuring they would progress to Euro 2000 on away goals.

Still, this was a fantastic goal on a big occasion from Robbie Keane.

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5. Ireland 2-1 Czech Republic (31/3/04) -  Stoppage time winner ends the Czech's remarkable unbeaten run

This friendly from March of 2004 seems is fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it ranks highly on our list for a couple of reasons.

First of all, the late goal from Keane was sublime. His movement is incredible, reacting quickest to a loose ball in the penalty. The finish from such a tight angle certainly wasn't bad either.

Secondly, this ended a remarkable 20-game unbeaten run for the Czechs, one that stretched all the way back to November of 2001. This was one of the top teams in the world of the time, one that probably should have won Euro 2004 a few months later.

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4. Ireland 2-1 Georgia (11/2/09) -  Two late strikes give Ireland qualifying momentum

Keane struck twice in the space of a few minutes in this one, following up his penalty with a stunning diving header in the 78th minute. The header was a brilliant piece of finishing, outmuscling the defender before guiding the ball into the bottom corner.

This game also came at a crucial stage in that qualifying campaign. Had Ireland failed to win, it is unlikely they would have secured second place in the group.

All in all, two important goals.

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3. Spain 1-1 Ireland (16/6/02) - Stoppage time penalty brings us to World Cup extra time

Now we are getting into the big hitters.

Ireland never should have needed a late equaliser in this game, having largely outplayed the Spanish for the majority of the contest. Ian Harte missed a penalty just after the hour mark and it seemed like it wasn't going to be our day.

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When Fernando Hierro nearly tore the shirt of Niall Quinn's back in injury time, Keane stepped up to take the penalty. He was the coolest man in the stadium.

Unfortunately, Ireland would go on to lose the game on penalties. Still, you won't score goals on many bigger occasions than this one.

 

 

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2. Italy 1-1 Ireland (1/4/09) -  88th minute equaliser boosts World Cup hopes

Ireland entered this game knowing that a defeat would all but end their hopes of topping their World Cup qualifying group. It was also significant in that Giovanni Trapattoni was managing against his home nation for the first time.

This Italy team had won the World Cup less than three years previous, and also lost to eventual Euro 2008 winners Spain on penalties the previous summer.

They took the lead in the first half in Bari, but Keane's equaliser late on secured a point for Ireland. It was also a cracking finish, even if Noel hunt maintains that he got the final touch.

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1. Germany 1-1 Ireland (5/6/02) - A last gasp stunner gets a point against the Germans

There was only ever going to be one winner. Today marks the 18th anniversary of that famous goal against the Germans and it still lives fresh in the memory.

Not only was it arguably the most important goal on this list, but it's also the best. Niall Quinn's header is fantastic, but Keane's movement and finish on the run is on another level.

The whole country couldn't believe what they had just witnessed, including Mick McCarthy. This goal also ensured a win in Ireland's final group game would assure passage into the knockout stages, taking the pressure somewhat off for the game against Saudi Arabia.

This was Keane's finest moment in an Ireland jersey.

SEE ALSO: Who Knew That Ireland Were Twice Crowned World Football Champions?

Gary Connaughton

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