Last-gasp hero John O’Shea admits the Republic of Ireland might have caught Germany at the right time to take a significant step towards Euro 2016 qualification.
O’Shea’s injury-time equaliser in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday clinched a 1-1 draw against the reigning world champions and Group D favourites three days after they suffered a shock 2-0 defeat in Poland.
However, the 33-year-old Sunderland defender knows Ireland’s timing was good, with Joachim Low having had to do without Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger through injury and Andre Schurrle and Christoph Kramer because of illness.
He said: “Because of the Poland win, we felt we really needed to get something. Germany still had a lot of quality on the pitch — it shows the strength they have. They have just won the World Cup. We got something, hopefully Germany keep getting stronger and beat the other teams.”
Ireland lead the group with Poland, who were held to a 2-2 home draw by Scotland on Tuesday. They will travel to Glasgow next month in confident mood. O’Shea said: “It keeps the momentum going, that’s the big thing.”
O’Shea later revealed O’Neill’s words both before the game and at half-time had proved inspirational, and that assistant Roy Keane also provided invaluable advice just before kick-off.
He said: “We normally do a little possession beforehand, but Roy just said, ‘No, get your heads right, we have done our preparation, relax, enjoy it. You are going to get the chance to play, but also know it is going to be hard work’, and I think you saw that with the performance everyone put in.”
Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan is another relishing working under Martin O’Neill. He said: “He’s a new manager coming in with new beliefs, a different character. It’s different for us because we know we have got an Irishman who has the passion. He has come in with his own ideas and his own backroom staff and given everyone the belief we can do something.”
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