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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Holland: Let's keep it clean

PUBLISHED: 12:52 21 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

Republic of Ireland international Matt Holland today urged his Ipswich team-mates to follow the World Cup example of the Irish.

Mick McCarthy's battlers lost 1-0 to Iran in Tehran in the second leg of their play-off due to a last-gasp goal, but they were in control throughout due to their 2-0 first leg victory in Dublin.

Republic of Ireland international Matt Holland today urged his Ipswich team-mates to follow the World Cup example of the Irish.

Mick McCarthy's battlers lost 1-0 to Iran in Tehran in the second leg of their play-off due to a last-gasp goal, but they were in control throughout due to their 2-0 first leg victory in Dublin.

The Ipswich skipper recognises the importance of having kept a clean sheet at home and believes his side must follow that example against Italian giants Inter in tomorrow night's third round tie at Portman Road

"It's very important to keep a clean sheet. That was a big bonus for us against Iran and gave us the perfect platform in Tehran," he added.

"People said the atmosphere would be hostile and the fans in the stadium were certainly very vociferous, but the Iranian people in general were friendly and the hotel was great.

"There were no problems. It was an excellent adventure, especially as we got through."

Given that they are second bottom in the Premiership with just one league win all season, Ipswich face a tough battle to overcome Inter, who are second in Serie A.

The Italians are without four leading strikers — Ronaldo, Christian Vieri, Alvaro Recoba and Stephane Dalmat — but still have £11million Nicola Ventola and Mohammed Kallon, the club's leading scorer so far this season.

Ipswich have injury problems of their own up front, with Marcus Stewart, Finidi George and Ulrich le Pen all ruled out.

Holland went on to admit England are the team he hopes to avoid in the World Cup draw in next Saturday's draw in South Korea.

Reports indicate that England and the Republic could both be in the second pot of seeds, meaning they would not be able to face each other in the initial group stage.

However, FIFA are yet to confirm the seedings and midfielder Holland is looking to avoid Sven-Goran Eriksson's side in the opening stages, even though he insists there is no reason why Ireland cannot progress.

"England are the team that I'm hoping to avoid most. Obviously we are not going to be one of the top seeds so we will get drawn against one of them and that will be a great experience," he said.

"No one really gave us a chance when the draw for our group was made, with Portugal and Holland in there.

"So it was a fantastic achievement to get through. But we did it and who knows what we can do now?

"We will give it our best shot and our results in the group show what is possible."

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