Martin O’Neill paid tribute to his Republic of Ireland players after they recorded a stunning 1-0 victory over world champions Germany in Euro 2016 qualifying.
Shane Long’s goal 20 minutes from time sealed the victory in Dublin on Thursday, a win that guarantees Ireland at least a play-off place in their bid to qualify for the tournament in France next year.
O’Neill was proud of his team and was keen to stress the scale of their achievement against a side who won the World Cup in 2014.
“The whole team did magnificently,” O’Neill told RTE. “It was a great, great team effort. We obviously had to withstand a lot of pressure during the course of the game as you would expect, they are the world champions.
“We coped with the pressure and became really dangerous on the break. The players put in a fantastic effort and they deserve it. To beat the world champions is a sensational effort.
“For us to win it is an historic night, especially when you consider the injuries, for instance Seamus Coleman and world-class players were missing here – we can’t afford to have those kind of players missing in our team.
“Shane Long came off the bench scores his wondergoal. He got a goal against Poland as well too. Cyrus Christie was fantastic coming in, Jeff Hendrick is growing – everyone has been important and it has to be like that.”
Ireland now face Poland in their final game on Sunday knowing a victory or a draw where they score at least two goals will be enough to seal automatic qualification.
O’Neill added: “We have still got a big struggle ahead of us [in Poland] – it is massive for us.
“You would think beating the Germans and them taking only one point out of six for us then you would deserve more from that, but it wasn’t to be.
“But we have reached the play-offs now and we can go for it on Sunday now.”