Germany World Cup qualifying

It was one of the great results for the Republic of Ireland, and left a great amount to ponder for Germany, along with a group that suddenly looks so much more open than would have been considered earlier.

John O'Shea's stoppage-time equaliser did much more than turn an assumed win for the defending World Cup champions into an unexpected 1-1 draw on Tuesday. It turned what had seemed to be a three-horse race for second place behind the Germans into a full-on four-horse race.

The Irish showed huge durability and defiance. Joachim Low's team showed problems that are continuing to plague them, despite coming off the back of such a historic achievement in winning the World Cup. Instead, Ireland achieved a historic result. Martin O'Neill's side prevented the best team on the planet from creating much, other than a whole load of complications for themselves. At this point, it seems a little more than just the aftereffects of the World Cup for Germany. The concerns now seem more concrete.

Consider the issues at either end. Up front, they simply ran out of ideas. At the back, they were utterly clueless.

That is remarkable for a side that otherwise rightfully displayed such utter confidence. The contradiction is there in the stats from their past two games. Germany displayed almost total control, reflecting the rampaging ability of their players.

The issue was that was classic "sterile domination, " which was precisely the criticism that used to be leveled at Barcelona, as well as Germany's predecessor as world champions, Spain.

Every time Germany got forward, they had no option against that amassed Irish defence but to pull it back to the edge of the box for a long shot. There was almost nothing else.

John O'Shea's late game-tying goal leaves Euro qualifying Group D with two unlikely leaders: Republic of Ireland and Poland.

Of course, they seemed saved when Toni Kroos showed just how much he has in his boots with that brilliant 71st-minute long shot, only to get undone by the problems at the other end.

They are also problems that have been around for a lot longer. Right through Low's time as manager, they have seemed oddly susceptible, a team that are utterly awesome but yet puzzlingly give you a chance.


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