The Republic of Ireland gave their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying hopes a massive boost by shocking world champions Germany in Dublin.
"Come on you boys in green" echoed around the ground after substitute Shane Long's brilliant second-half strike earned Martin O'Neill's men a hard-earned victory on a night of missed chances by Germany.
Joachim Low's men dominated the first half but failed to get through a defiant Irish defence and, even after Long's strike, they missed late chances through Mats Hummels and, notably, Thomas Müller. As a result the point they needed to secure qualification eluded them; as for Ireland, guaranteeing at least third place in Group D was cause for loud celebrations at the final whistle.
Nobody inside the sold-out stadium doubted the size of Ireland's task. Germany had won 6-1 on their last visit to Dublin. Only once in 11 attempts had an Ireland team beaten a defending world champion side. So it was no surprise when Germany took control from the off, passing and probing and forcing the home side into some last-ditch defending. As early as the first minute Stephen Ward did well to deflect a Müller effort behind.
It was a makeshift Ireland defence, including Derby County defenders Richard Keogh and Cyrus Christie, but when they were opened up after 13 minutes, captain John O'Shea made a brilliant block to divert the ball wide as Ilkay Gündoğan looked poised to score.
Germany arrived on a five-game winning streak and had other near misses. Jérôme Boateng put a free header wide from a corner while Mesut Özil was rightly ruled offside when he turned the ball in yet by half-time neither Shay Given nor Darren Randolph, the man who replaced him after his departure on a stretcher, had had a save to make.
Although Schürrle, a first-half replacement for the injured Götze, volleyed over from Marco Reus' cross early in the second half, Ireland were now showing more attacking intent. Their reward came with Long's goal. It was simple stuff, Long racing on to Randolph's long kick upfield and burying a shot high to the right of Manuel Neuer to set up a tense final day on Sunday.
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