The Republic of Ireland and the Soviet Union moved level on points at the Group 2 summit after drawing 1-1 in Hannover.
Both teams had upset the odds in their opening fixtures, with Ireland defeating England and the USSR getting the better of the Netherlands. Jack Charlton's team offered more of the same on this occasion, hassling and harrying their opponents at every opportunity, and duly took the lead through Ronnie Whelan seven minutes from half-time. Oleh Protasov drew level in the second half, though, to leave the section intriguingly poised.
With John Aldridge, such a threat in the penalty area, forced to spend much of his time chasing down long passes into the corner, the chances Ireland created fell to their midfielders. Ray Houghton, impressive once again, carved out the first one of real note, beating three men before shooting too close to Rinat Dasayev.
The goal arrived in typically direct fashion – Mick McCarthy's huge throw-in – but was finished in spectacular style, Whelan showing tremendous agility, skill and technique to hook in on the volley from the edge of the penalty area.
The same two combined in the second half, Dasayev this time coming to the USSR's rescue, with Aldridge then shooting wide after a fine pass by Tony Galvin. Valery Lobonovskiy's side created far fewer chances but took one exceptionally well with 16 minutes remaining, Ihor Belanov flicking through for Protasov to shoot under Packie Bonner. A point left Ireland still well placed to qualify, but the Dutch lay in wait.