Robbie Keane insists the Republic of Ireland must retain their self-belief if they are to stand any chance of realising their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ dream.

Giovanni Trapattoni's side went down 1-0 against France at Croke Park, stacking the odds firmly against them for the second leg of their FIFA World Cup play-off with Les Bleus. Nicolas Anelka was the goalscorer, courtesy of a deflection of Sean St Ledger.

However, Keane refused to throw in the towel at the halfway stage of the tie. "We have to be confident for Wednesday and believe we can win the game. There's no question we can do it on Wednesday," the captain told Sky Sports 1.

"We've been to big teams like Italy and got results, so we know we can. It's not going to be easy but we have to believe. We need to believe that we have to go there, we have to get a goal and hopefully we can get two and not concede."

We have to be confident for Wednesday and believe we can win the game. There's no question we can do it on Wednesday.

Robbie Keane

Reflecting on where the first leg was won and lost, the Tottenham Hotspur striker added: "They didn't create too many chances but the one that counted cost us a little bit. We created a few chances, maybe not clear-cut chances but certainly half chances."

Kevin Doyle, man of the match after leading the line bravely, echoed his skipper's thoughts. "We have to score to win game," he said. "We go to France needing a goal. If not two goals, then one to get into extra time and then we'll see what happens.

"It was so close tonight. Their goal was not even a half chance, it was a lucky deflection. We had a few chances we made ourselves but just couldn't score. It's half-time and we have another game to go in Paris. We have gone to Italy against the world champions and we got a goal so why not in France?"

France forward Thierry Henry refused to celebrate his side's win too hard, instead choosing to focus on the return leg. "We have seen the Irish are a difficult team to beat and they didn't lose a game in the whole qualifying so what we did today is nice," he said.

"There are still 90 minutes to go so it will be a tough game for us in Paris. We wanted to play in the first half but you have to give the Irish team credit, they didn't give us any room to play our game. You can always improve and hopefully the crowd in Paris can be like the crowd the Irish had tonight."