Matchday Memories: On This World Cup Day 2002 -Sky Blue Irish Eyes Were Smiling In Yokohama!

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Robbie congratulates Gary on his goal

21 Aug 1999: Robbie Keane of Coventry City in action during the FA Carling Premiership match against Derby County played at Highfield Road in Coventry, England. The match finished in a 2-0 victory to Coventry City. Mandatory Credit: Mike Hewitt /Allsport

Robbie in Sky Blue action

On this day (11th June) in 2002 both former Sky Blues Robbie Keane and Gary Breen scored for their country, the Republic of Ireland, in a World Cup game against Saudi Arabia which they eventually won 3-0 in Japan. A crowd of 65,320 were in the International Stadium in Yokohama to see the Irish qualify for the knockout stages in second place in Group E behind Germany (the eventual runners up against Brazil). The Irish went out in the Group of Sixteen in a 3-2 extra time defeat against Spain.

Robbie Keane in his Irish green strip

Robbie provided a really impressive first season in the Premier League with the Sky Blues in 1999-2000 scoring a dozen goals in his 34 Sky Blue games. Bought from Wolverhampton Wanderers for a record for a teenager of £6m his potential was so substantial that Inter Milan were willing to pay £13m for him just a year later. He went on to have an illustrious club and international career finishing in 2017-18 with Indian Super League team ATK, eventually (March 2018) becoming their player-manager. Robbie officially announced his retirement from the game on 28 November 2018.

Gary Breen in the Sky Blue

Gary had a ten club career amassing well over 500 league appearances starting out at Charlton Athletic in 1990 and ending at Barnet in 2010 where he eventually became Assistant Manager. Pre the Sky Blues he also played for Maidstone United (1991), Gillingham (1992), Peterborough United (1994) and Birmingham City (1996) from which club City bought him.

His five Sky Blue seasons (four in the Premier League) from 1997-2002 encompassed nearly 150 league appearances and cemented his Irish international spot. He went on to win 63 caps for his country (seven goals) between 1996-2006. He moved onto West Ham United (2002), Sunderland (2003) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (2006) before joining last club Barnet where he also became assistant gaffer in 2009.

Most recently (from 2013) Gary was first team coach at Peterborough United. However he left after two years when the Posh’s ‘gaffer’ Darren Ferguson left the club. Since then Gary has done media work as a pundit and match analyst for Irish channel Setanta Sports as well as Abu Dhabi based channel Premier League Television (PLTV).

We would love both the join CCFPA when current commitments allow.

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