Ireland stun Germany 1-0 to throw Group D wide open

first_imgIreland stunned world champions Germany 1-0 thanks to Shane Long’s 70th minute strike on Thursday to throw Euro 2016 qualifying Group D wide open and maintain their chances of booking a spot at the finals with a game left to play.Long latched on to a deep cross from substitute goalkeeper Darren Randolph to drill past Germany stopper Manuel Neuer and take Ireland, who visit Poland on Sunday, level on 18 points with their next opponents.Group leaders Germany, who have 19 points and only needed a draw to qualify in Dublin, next host Georgia.“It’s amazing, to even be part of tonight, playing the world champions at home but to come away scoring the winning goal is an amazing feeling,” Long told Sky Sports.The Germans had suffered a late blow in the build-up to the match with captain Bastian Schweinsteiger ruled out hours before the kickoff having picked up a groin injury in their final training session.“What happened is what happens with teams like Ireland and that is that we had a lot of possession,” said Germany defender Mats Hummels.“We had our chances but they used their only one. Ireland made the most out of very little. Now we know it can get very tight in the last game and we have to be dominant against Georgia and not let anything happen.”But they still had no problem taking control of the game with some swift passing and lots of movement off the ball and had a couple of early chances, with the unmarked Jerome Boateng missing the target with a header and Ilkay Guendogan seeing his effort deflected wide.The visitors gradually eased off, however, allowing Ireland more space and as the hosts grew in confidence they were almost caught on the break when Andre Schuerrle, a replacement for the injured Mario Goetze in the first half, fired over the bar.Ireland continued to work hard and were rewarded when Randolph’s long kick sent Long clear to beat Neuer with a powerful shot.Thomas Mueller should have levelled with a close-range effort seven minutes later but the hosts held on for a memorable win, their first in a competitive game against the Germans.Group D standings Standings P W D L F A Pts 1 Germany 9 6 1 2 22 8 19 2 Poland 9 5 3 1 31 9 18 —————————— 3 Ireland 9 5 3 1 18 5 18 4 Scotland 9 3 3 3 16 12 12 5 Georgia 9 3 0 6 9 14 9 6 Gibraltar 9 0 0 9 2 50 0last_img