SportSoccer

Martin O'Neill salutes his Boys in Green

O'Neill.jpg
O'Neill.jpg

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill saluted his "super-sub" Shane Long after the Southampton striker's goal sealed victory over world champions Germany.

A 1-0 success at the Aviva Stadium secured at least a play-off place in qualification for next summer's European Championship and O'Neill will now take his side to Poland knowing victory on Sunday would secure their passage to France.

He told Sky Sports 1: "Shane has come on against Poland (in March) and proved his worth (with a late equaliser), and I think at this minute the role suits him.

"When I get into the dressing room I'll say 'well done' to him because he's won the game for us."

Long may disagree with his manager's assessment, having minutes earlier expressed his disappointment at not starting the game.

He said: "I was upset but there are 25 players who all want to start. Everyone's putting pressure on the starting XI.

"The manager called me with 60 minutes gone and told me to go on and make an impact. I felt I could cause trouble on the break and thankfully I did that."

O'Neill at times seemed lost for words as he reflected on a momentous win for his side.

"It's an absolutely fantastic win," he said.

"We showed bravery in the second half and had to withstand a lot of pressure. We have beaten the world champions tonight and that shouldn't be taken away from players.

"We have a big match against Poland now but one way or another, at least we've reached the play-off and we've something to go for on Sunday."

Captain John O'Shea added: "We wanted to get it back in our hands and now we've stepped up again tonight and showed we can go on to get automatic qualification.

"(Poland have) got some good players but we've shown tonight we can mix it with the best."