Ireland vs. Croatia: Robbie Keane a Non-Factor in Irish Defeat

POZNAN, POLAND - JUNE 10: Robbie Keane of Republic of Ireland looks on during the UEFA EURO 2012 group C between Ireland and Croatia at The Municipal Stadium on June 10, 2012 in Poznan, Poland. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

The Republic of Ireland lost to Croatia 3-1 in their opening match of the Euro 2012 tournament, with Galaxy vice captain Robbie Keane failing to factor into the match. This was the first time Ireland have conceded three goals in a tournament game, and the first time since March 2011 that Ireland conceded more than one goal (all stats according to Opta Sport). Playing a similar style to the LA Galaxy (4-4-2, little movement between the levels) the Irish simply could't keep hold as Croatia kept finding their way to fortunate balls.

Keane was subbed off at around a bit after the seventieth minute. Outside of a possible penalty that wasn't given, Keane didn't factor much into the match. Croatia rarely left the Irish captain unmarked, resulting in a weak effort from Keane; no shots, created no chances, and lost all five of his duels.

Interesting to note, the Irish are the only team at Euro 2012 without a player from their domestic league. 21 of the 23 play their football in England, some in the Premier League and some in the Championship. Of course Robbie Keane has come over to MLS to ply his trade. You'll remember one of the big reasons for MLS' founding was so the players on the United States team would have a domestic league to play in as US Soccer tried to develop into a player on the world soccer stage.

A positive note for Ireland, who had Spain and Italy left to play in the group, is the way their fans traveled. They were clearly the country with higher representation, and they were loud the entire match. Of course, a quick good search shows things haven't been 100% positive.

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