The Republic of Ireland pulled off a historic victory in Dublin on Thursday night as they managed to defeat the current World Champions Germany.
Super-sub Shane Long raced onto the pitch and within five minutes managed to grab the winning goal, guaranteeing Ireland at least a playoff spot as Scotland and Poland fought out a 2-2 draw.
Germany were not at their best as Thomas Muller squandered a number of golden opportunities, most notably to equalise when he missed from 12 yards out after finding himself left unmarked.
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The German team dominated control of the possession with just shy of 72% and yet failed to net any of their opportunities. Joachim Löw will no doubt be furious at the squad as they only managed three on target shots from a grand total of 16.
Despite this, the Irish defence must be given their due as they applied great pressure on an unrecognisable German team, from the side who won the World Cup last year in Brazil.
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Germany did come close, though John O'Shea was on hand to produce an outstanding block after Gundogan headed towards goal. Ozil went even closer as his shot clipped the Irish post too which epitomised the entire German performance.
Andre Schurrle, coming on as a substitute after half time to ignite the German performance came close too as his first-time volley screamed over the bar minutes before Long managed to grab the surprise winner for Ireland against the run of play.
A long ball from Darren Randolph fortunately found its way through the defensive lines which Long rifled past Neuer with aplomb to send the Dublin crowd into a frenzy.
The result leaves Ireland third in a group with 18 points, but only goal difference separates them from Poland, who managed a last gasp goal against Scotland to finish 2-2 and see the Scottish out of the automatic qualifying process with 15 points. Germany currently top Group D with 19 points.
In a great sporting night for the island of Ireland, which saw Northern Ireland automatically qualify for the first time after defeating Greece 3-1; the Republic of Ireland will now have to recover to take on Poland for the final automatic qualifying place on October 11.
It's a game Ireland must win, but you can be sure that confidence could not be higher in the Irish camp tonight.
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