Despite an injured adductor muscle, LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane has been included in Giovanni Trapattoni’s 26-man Republic of Ireland squad for their two-legged 2012 European Championship playoff against Estonia on Nov. 11 and 15.
Ireland’s captain has been sidelined since he was injured in Ireland’s 2-0 win against Andorra on Oct. 7, but may play some part in LA’s Western Conference Semifinal against New York on Sunday (3 pm ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes). Keane participated in his first full training session on Wednesday for LA, but may be reluctant to push his comeback with the huge games for his country on the horizon.
The Emerald Isle have not reached a major tournament since Mick McCarthy led them to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Keane was on target against Germany, Saudi Arabia and Spain in that tournament. The leading goal scorer in British Isles history, with 51 goals, is desperate to lead his side to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine next June.
Seattle Sounders midfielder Álvaro Fernández will also be on international duty Nov. 11, after being included in Uruguay’s 2014 World Cup qualifying squad for the crucial clash against Chile.
Fernández has scored nine times in 23 starts for the Sounders this year as he helped them to a second-place finish in the Western Conference and the club's third straight US Open Cup title. Uruguay currently sit top of CONMEBOL qualifying after four games played, with Fernández set to continue the fine form he showed at the 2010 World Cup, where La Celeste finished in fourth place.
Ireland's and Uruguay's games are during the international break that falls between MLS Conference Championships and the MLS Cup final, which could prove problematic if Fernández and Keane make it that far with their respective teams.