James McClean..

Ireland fans absolutely love what James McClean did after Wales victory

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Football News

It was a home nation clash of monumental proportions with World Cup hopes at stake and, in the end, the Republic of Ireland defied the odds to prevail.

Staged at the Cardiff City Stadium, Ireland locked horns with Wales in a game that would decided who bagged second spot in group D and a play-off game to reach Russia.

There was a possibility that one nation could even bag top spot but Serbia quelled such ambitions when Aleksandar Prijović pacified the threat of Georgia in securing a 1-0 win.

The game in south Wales was equally as tense and it wasn't until the 57th minute that the dead lock was broken, against the run of play.

A moment of inspiration from Jeff Hendrick along the right flank allowed the Burnley man to penetrate the Wales defence, delivering a low cross for James McClean in the area.

The controversial midfielder, who had nailed some questionable challenges earlier in the game, provided an emphatic finish on his weaker foot.

The ball fizzed past Wayne Hennessy and set up a nervy finish for a Wales side holding high hopes after their semi-final charge at Euro 2016.

Ultimately, though, it wasn't to be. Chris Coleman's men missed the magic of Gareth Bale, Ben Woodburn made a minimal impact off the bench and Aaron Ramsey had nothing short of a nightmare.

Wales v Republic of Ireland - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

The final whistle confirmed Wales' absence from the World Cup and Ireland's place in the play-offs.

You would think the Irish had won the whole tournament by McClean's reaction after the game.

Although some fans on Twitter were keen to laugh at the ex-Sunderland man, Ireland fans were absolutely loving the show of passion. Check out the moment and reaction below:

Seeing a familiar face in the crowed, McClean enveloped himself in the crowd close to the Wales section of supporters.

Once he climbed back of the advertising hoardings, he fired up the visitors in goose-bump inducing fashion for any Irishman.

Just imagine the celebrations if they traverse the play-offs and they'll be no Thierry Henry to stop them, this time.

Who do you think will win the World Cup in Russia next year? Have your say in the comments section below.

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