The Ireland skipper will lead his team out against the star-studded French at Croke Park on Saturday night, as they seek to put one foot on the plane to South Africa next summer.
- Republic of Ireland
"The importance of the game and what's at the end of it is massive for everyone associated with it," Keane said.
"There are players who have never been in this situation before, players who play in the Championship who may never have the opportunity they have now.
"Hopefully they will, but possibly never again, you just never know in football. It's important we enjoy the occasion, but it's more important that we do ourselves justice.
"Of course, they have players who have played in the Champions League. If you look on paper at the players they have, they have got world-class players all over the pitch and they are fortunate enough to be able to leave players like Patrick Vieira out of the squad.
"We just can't do that, that's the gulf between the two nations. But the one thing we do have is desire and commitment, and a team that's desperate to do well and desperate to get to South Africa."
YOU CAN FOLLOW LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY OF IRELAND v FRANCE AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK FROM 7PM ON SATURDAY
- Football.co.uk staff