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O'Shea grabs dramatic draw for Ireland against Germany with last-gasp goal

Toni Kroos looked to have struck the winner for Germany before O’Shea pounced at the death.

Source: Joe Giddens

Germany 1

Ireland 1

JOHN O’SHEA WAS Ireland’s hero with a 93rd-minute equaliser against world champions Germany in Gelsenkirchen.

With timing reminiscent of Robbie Keane’s goal in Ibaraki 12 years ago, O’Shea beat Mats Hummels to the punch to score with seconds remaining and spark ecstatic celebrations.

Toni Kroos looked to have broken Ireland’s resilience when he struck on 70 minutes with a low shot that went in off David Forde’s post.

But on the night he won his 100th cap and joined an elite club of Irish centurions, O’Shea was in the right place at the right time.

He said: “It was an absolute fairytale ending. It was incredible — to get the 100 caps and to score the goal to equalise against Germany and hopefully keep the momentum going to qualify for France.”

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

In the circumstances, this was definitely a point gained by Ireland who remain unbeaten after three games and level on points with Poland at the top of Group D, while Germany dropped points for the second straight game.

Martin O’Neill set his stall out early when he made three changes to the side that trounced Gibraltar but stuck with captain Robbie Keane as his lone striker at the expense of Shane Long.

Glenn Whelan and Stephen Quinn came in to central midfield while Jon Walters started wide on the right of a 4-4-1-1 with Aiden McGeady given a free role behind Keane.

So often Ireland’s creative spark, the Everton man looked badly lost in the middle for long stretches as Germany completely dominated possession in search of a breakthrough.

Ireland were hurried into clearances by their high pressing and Keane hardly featured, touching the ball just five times in the first half, and was substituted just after the hour mark as O’Neill consolidated in search of clean sheet.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Germany had their chances in the opening 45 but even without the ball, Ireland were well-organised and dealt with most threats. Erik Durm shook Forde’s crossbar after just five minutes while defender Antonio Rudiger should have done better with a free header.

On the few occasions they did make a breakthrough, Forde was alive to the danger. He snuffed out one long ball before Julian Draxler could get a touch and then stood big at his near post to deny the same man again on the stroke of half-time.

The Millwall stopper was called into action again on 55 minutes when he soared to tip Toni Kroos’s shot over the bar.

That was followed by a few heart-in-mouth moments as James McClean outmuscled Thomas Muller to stop him from getting a decisive touch on a corner, while David Meyler and Marc Wilson breathed a sigh of relief when German sub Lukas Podolski went down in the box only for Slovenian referee Damir Skomina to award a free out.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

O’Neill introduced Jeff Hendrick and Darron Gibson for the injured Whelan and the ineffective Keane in the hope of holding out for the final half-hour, but Germany punished a lapse in concentration on 70 minutes.

Quinn backed off when Kroos collected the ball deep in midfield and allowed the Real Madrid man the space and time he needed to fire a low shot beyond Forde’s fingertips.

The introduction of Wes Hoolahan for the final 15 minutes looked to be too little too late but, as Hendrick and Gibson gained a bit more of a foothold in midfield, it gave Ireland a renewed sense of adventure.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Hoolahan had a gilt-edged chance to equalise himself five minutes from time when McClean — Ireland’s most lively threat on the night — sent over a low cross that he met six yards out. As Durm dived in to block, it seemed Ireland’s chance was gone.

But in the third minute of stoppage time Hoolahan sent over one final speculative cross. Hendrick did superbly to keep the attack alive at the back post and O’Shea stretched a leg out to put the perfect footnote on his perfect night.

Germany: Neuer, Rüdiger, Boateng, Hummels, Durm, Ginter (Podolski h/t), Kroos, Bellarabi (Rudy 87), Draxler (Kruse 70), Götze, Müller.

Subs not used: Zeiler, Weidenfeller, Mustafi,.

Ireland: Forde, Meyler, Wilson, O’Shea, Ward, Walters, Whelan (Hendrick 54), Quinn (Hoolahan 76), McClean, McGeady, Keane (Gibson 62).

Subs not used: Elliot, Westwood, Clark, Pearce, Pilkington, Brady, Long, Stokes, Doyle.

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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