Republic of Ireland are guaranteed at least a place in the Euro 2016 qualification play-offs after Shane Long’s second-half strike sealed a famous 1-0 win over world champions Germany in Dublin.
The Southampton forward raced on to a long clearance from substitute goalkeeper Darren Randolph with 20 minutes remaining and scored a dramatic winner.
Germany had a Mesut Ozil goal disallowed in the first half and wasted a string of chances to score throughout the match in a display of dreadful finishing.
Due to the defeat, Joachim Low’s men need at least a draw in their last game against Georgia to progress to the finals in France next year as a result of Poland’s late equaliser in Scotland.
Ireland are now certain to finish at least third in the group and can seal an automatic place by coming second if they can get a win or a draw where they score at least two goals in their final match against the Poles.
Germany threatened first when Jerome Boateng somehow missed the target after being afforded a free header from Toni Kroos’ corner.
In another early chance, the visitors carved Ireland open through an excellent Mario Gotze run and pass but John O’Shea made a vital block from Ilkay Gundogan’s effort.
Germany were in complete control and had a goal ruled out for offside. Ozil was celebrating after flicking home Thomas Muller’s cross, but the assistant referee’s flag correctly denied him.
Ireland had a Jon Walters penalty appeal turned down after the forward tangled with Mats Hummels, before the Stoke City striker had an effort blocked by Kroos, with the hosts growing in confidence as the first half progressed.
Andre Schurrle had to come on for an injured Gotze in a blow for the world champions prior to the break, while Ireland had to replace goalkeeper Shay Given with Randolph due to an injury incurred as he took a goal kick.
Germany went close to going into half time ahead when Ozil’s first-time effort just missed the far post after Muller’s cut-back.
Schurrle volleyed over from Marco Reus’ cross early in the second half as the visitors continued to miss the target with presentable opportunities.
Ireland threatened when Daryl Murphy flashed a shot wide after good work from Wes Hoolahan and even better was to follow on 70 minutes with a goal.
A long goal kick from Randolph beat everyone in the away defence and substitute Long raced through and smashed his finish past Manuel Neuer.
Hummels headed wide from close-range after Muller’s flick-on, before Hoolahan fired off-target from the edge of the box at the other end.
Muller was the next to waste a golden chance for the visitors, but he somehow missed the target from 12 yards after Jonas Hector’s cross found its way to him in space.
Boateng finally had Germany’s first shot on target with a long-range effort, although Randolph was equal to it, before the keeper saved from Gundogan moments later as the hosts held on for a famous triumph.
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