Robbie Keane and the Republic of Ireland face a stiff challenge in the 2012 European Championship, after they were thrown into one of the toughest groups during the tournament's draw in Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday.
Ireland will face the previous two World Cup champions in Spain and Italy, and will also match up against Croatia.
The LA Galaxy striker — who is Ireland's all-time leading goalscorer with 53 goals in 114 appearances — will hope to add to his tally next summer as he captains the Irish in their first Euro appearance since 1988. They were eliminated that year before reaching the knockout stage.
The group of death emerged as Group B, where the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Portugal were all bundled together in a mouth-watering cluster of some of Europe’s finest talent.
The draw was made by former winners of the tournament, Peter Schmeichel, Marco van Basten and Zinedine Zidane in a glitzy event in Ukraine.
The tournament kicks off on June 8 at the National Stadium in Warsaw, when Poland meet Greece in the Group A opener. The final will take place in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on July 1.
Keane was not present for the draw, as he is currently on duty with LA on their Asia Pacific tour, but his manager Giovanni Trapattoni looked on somewhat disappointed as Ireland were handed a tough task to make it to the knockout stages.
Check below for the full list of groups.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|