14.10.2014 at 20:45 Veltins Arena, Stadion Gelsenkirchen
1 - 1
Republic of Ireland
European Cup Qualifier / Prog-match
GERMANY 1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 1
Statto: John O Shea's 100th Cap
John O’Shea marked his 100th cap with an injury-time equaliser to stun World Cup winners Germany and maintain Ireland’s unbeaten start to the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Germany looked to be on course for a narrow victory courtesy of a 71st minute goal from playmaker Toni Kroos but O’Shea popped up in the box in the 94th minute to turn home a pull-back from Jeff Hendrick.
It brought memories of Ibaraki during the 2002 World Cup Finals when Robbie Keane struck a late equaliser against Germany to earn Mick McCarthy’s side a 1-1 draw and O’Shea was delighted to mark his entry into the Centurions Club with a special goal.
“It was an absolute fairytale ending,” said O’Shea afterwards. “To get the hundred caps and score the goal to equalise against Germany and hopefully keep the momentum going to qualify for France.”
Martin O’Neill made three changes from the side which defeated Gibraltar on Saturday with Glenn Whelan, Stephen Quinn and Jonathon Walters coming in from Darren Gibson, Jeff Hendrick and Wes Hoolahan. Ireland adopted a 4-4-1-1 formation with Aiden McGeady playing behind skipper Robbie Keane with Whelan and Quinn in the centre and Walters and James McClean on the flanks.
The game start ominously for Ireland when German left-back Erik Durm cracked a long-range shot off Forde’s crossbar but remarkably although the home side had the bulk of the possession but struggled to find a way through a well organised and disciplined Irish defence.
Rüdiger, Kroos and Ginte were all off-target before Forde saved from Julian Draxler in the final moments of the first-half.
Ireland began the second period brightly and it took a vital interception from German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to stop a cross from McClean being turned home by the in-rushing Keane.
At the other Forde found himself called into action a lot more than in the first half and he produced excellent saves to deny Bellarbi, Podolski and Kroos while Muller failed to connect properly with a flick from Hummels.
Ireland lost Glenn Whelan ten minutes after half-time through an injury picked up when he collided with Poldolski’s foot and he was replaced by Jeff Hendrick. Robbie Keane, who had battled bravely in the lone striker role, was called ashore after 63 minutes and replaced by midfielder Darren Gibson which resulted in Joanthon Walters going up front and Aidan McGeady moving to the right wing.
The German goal just came just as the game was entering its final 20 minutes when Kroos was allowed too much room, wasn’t closed down and used the opportunity to pick his spot from 25 yards with a low right-footed shot that crept past Forde’s out-stretched hand and in off his right-hand post.
The Irish goalkeeper then kept Ireland in the game as he made a great block to deny Götze, after the scorer of the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup Final was sent clear after the Germans unlocked the Irish defence.
The introduction of Wes Hoolahan for Quinn saw Ireland start to pose a greater threat going forward and they almost snatched a late equaliser when they opened up the Germans with some excellent passing. Walters picked out Hoolahan but his shot from six yards was brilliantly blocked by the covering Durm to deny a certain goal.
However, as the game crept into four minutes of added on time, Ireland kept pushing forward and in the final moments of the game good work down the right saw McGeady find Hoolahan in support and his deep cross was knocked back across goal by Hendrick for O’Shea to show his rarely seen predatory instincts and side-foot the ball past Neuer from six yards.
“It was a really big goal for us,” said O’Neill who was full of praise for this team and their character
“They are ecstatic, absolutely ecstatic. To come back in that fashion was absolutely fantastic,” said O’Neill. “There is a terrific will to keep going in the side.”
It certainly was precious equaliser and the point gained keeps Ireland in second place in the group, level with Poland who drew 2-2 in Warsaw with Ireland’s next opponents Scotland.
Germany: Neuer(GK) (C); Rüdiger, Boateng, Hummels, Durm; Ginter (Podolski 46), Kroos; Bellarabi (Rudy 86), Götze, Draxler (Kruse 70); Muller.
Republic of Ireland: Forde (GK); Meyler, O’Shea, Wilson, Ward; Walters, Whelan (Hendrick 53), Quinn (Hoolahan 76), McClean; McGeady; Keane (C) (Gibson 63).
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)