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'It doesn't matter who is playing or not. It's about the nation' - Robbie hails Ireland's supersubs

Shane Long came off the bench to stun the world champions in Dublin.

Robbie Keane greets Shane Long with Dick Redmond Ya little beauty! Robbie raced to congratulate Shane Long at the final whistle. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

HE NEVER GOT to kick a ball but that didn’t make Ireland’s stunning win over Germany any less sweet for Robbie Keane.

“I’m very proud, very proud,” the delighted captain said after supersubs Darren Randolph and Shane Long combined to down the world champions.

I keep saying, it doesn’t matter who is playing or not. It’s about the nation and about everybody pulling together to try to achieve one goal, and that’s to qualify for France.

“We’ve all had our times through our careers when we’re playing or not, and the time has come for some other players.

“All the other players in that dressing room, myself included, we’re all going to get opportunities. That’s why it’s always important to be ready.”

Long’s winner guarantees Ireland a Euro 2016 playoff place at minimum and leaves them in control of their own destiny ahead of Sunday’s trip to Warsaw.

The golden moment channelled memories of other famous Irish days, including Keane’s unforgettable equaliser against the same opposition in Ibaraki 13 years ago.

“It was a great finish,” Keane beamed.

“The first touch helped him. As soon as you get that out of your feet, you can see the whole goal and it’s important that you get good pace.

As soon as he hit it, the keeper dived after it but the ball was in the back of the net, that’s how much power was in it.

Keane also hailed the performance of James McCarthy whose tireless battling in midfield never allowed the Germans to settle into a rhythm.

He said: “Full credit to the players, I thought we defended very, very well.

“You’re playing against the world champions. They’re always going to get chances. They’re always going to have possession.


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“There are times that you’re going to drop a lot deeper than you have to. That was certainly the case in the first half. That happened on a few occasions.

I thought James McCarthy, it was one of the best games he’s played in a green jersey. I thought he typified the performance the way he was harassing people, stopping them from playing.

“We knew they were going to play but he was in good, important positions and was very, very good at times for the team.”

Where does this rank among the great days?

“Let’s speak about that after Sunday’s game,” Keane said. “If we qualify automatically, it’s certainly up there.”

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Automatic qualification still up for grabs and the other talking points from Ireland’s win over Germany

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Niall Kelly

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