Shay Given wants to bow out of international football at a major tournament, and believes the current Ireland squad are good enough to get him to the 2012 Euro finals in Poland and the Ukraine.
Given and defender Kevin Kilbane won their 103 caps to break Stephen Staunton’s record as the most capped Irish player in last week’s 2-0 defeat to Brazil.
Now 33, Given has vowed to carry on in the Euro qualifiers when Ireland will meet Russia, Slovakia, Macedonia, Armenia and Andorra.
“I never thought I would make three caps, no matter 103,” said Given, first capped in 1996 against Russia. “You can only go on how you are feeling at the time, and at the moment I am feeling great.
“I would like to see another campaign through, and we will see after that. It was a great honor for myself and Kevin to have broken Steve Staunton’s record, and we both think we can give something to the team to help qualify for the European Championships -- I would love to finish with a major tournament.
“If you look at the draw we have been given for the European Championships, then we have got a chance. We are really going to have to go for it and hopefully we can end the career at a major championships.”
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni also took comfort from the performance if not the result in the 2-0 defeat to Brazil last week at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal.
“In my opinion this team is growing very well,” said Trapattoni. “In the first half or maybe one hour, I had that confirmed because we played well.
“We had confidence and had more possibilities to shoot on goal. They finished the first half 1-0 in front and it gave them the opportunity to play for the result.”
Irish midfielder Glenn Whelan added, “The Brazil game will help get the playoff game out of our system. Brazil are obviously a great side. They have won the most World Cups overall. It was a good performance from the lads and people will start forgetting about the France thing.”
Vandals desecrate Virgin Mary statue in Northern Ireland in apparent sectarian attack