Keane happy to go it alone against Spain

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Ireland captain Robbie Keane is ready to play as a lone striker against world champions Spain on Thursday if coach Giovanni Trapattoni veers away from his trusted 4-4-2 system.

Much-travelled Keane, now plying his trade with LA Galaxy, played alongside Kevin Doyle in a two-man attack in the 3-1 defeat by Croatia in their opening Group C match but Trapattoni is contemplating fortifying his midfield to counter Spain's galaxy of options.

"We've chatted about it in training and we'll talk again later," Keane, who played alongside Spain's Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres at Liverpool in the 2008/09 season, told reporters before training at the gleaming Gdansk Stadium.

"If I play alongside another striker or I play as a lone striker that's fine. I've certainly done it plenty of times before and it's something that I enjoy doing.

"You have to be playing on the shoulder and trying to get in behind defenders.

"If the manager does decide to do that then I'm happy to do that," added the scorer of a record 53 goals for his country.

Defeat for Ireland would almost certainly end their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals in their first European Championship since 1988 but a draw would keep them in touch going into the final game against Italy.

With thousands of Ireland fans taking over the historic port city to cheer on their side, Keane said failure was not an option he could contemplate even if bookmakers have them at 11/1 to triumph.

"For personally, as captain, there is not a chance in hell that I will go into any game thinking that I can't win it," he said.

"We have to believe that we have every chance to get a win. It's 11 versus 11 for 90 minutes. We've played against the biggest teams and beaten them and drawn with them.

"People have written us off and given us no hope. The fact of the matter is after what happened the other night against Croatia we need to get points on the board."

Trapattoni said he believed in the "heart" of his squad and said there was just as much pressure on favourites Spain after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Italy.

"We are in a delicate situation but right now Italy and Spain both only have one point, everything is still open," he said, adding that he had been studying a DVD of China's performance when they lost 1-0 to Spain in a friendly.

"We play our football with heart," Trapattoni said. "Today, football is not only about the creative players. Today football is a balance on the pitch, with strong [players], with attitude, with a bit of luck. In the first game we were unlucky."

Both sides will be keen to begin new sequences.

Spain's draw with Italy ended a streak of 14 consecutive competitive victories and Ireland's defeat by Croatia ended a 14-match unbeaten run.