Football: Germans stunned by Irish fire: Irish hopes for USA '94 increase as they belittle world champions

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The Independent Online
Germany. . . . . . . . .0

Republic of Ireland. . .2

THE Republic of Ireland surpassed even their own splendid achievements of recent times with a victory yesterday that humbled Germany, the world champions. After the defeat last month of the Netherlands, another of the World Cup favourites, it seems pertinent to ask just what Jack Charlton's squad are on.

No other nation will head for USA '94 with a more impressive series of results. In four games since they qualified for football's showpiece, Ireland have won three and have still to concede a goal.

The latest, and one of the greatest in their history, was hoisted by Tony Cascarino's first-half header and underpinned midway through the second when Gary Kelly claimed his first goal in senior football. It rendered the Germans thoroughly demoralised by the finish - their first home defeat in six years and their first in Hanover since 1954 was greeted with a chorus of boos and whistles.

Charlton was left to reflect afterwards that expectations back home will now be heightened about the campaign which starts in 19 days' time against Italy in New York. 'This result will only put us under more pressure and maybe we will be taken a little more seriously now.'

In addition his planning has been complicated because of the assured performances from those who were drafted in. Paul McGrath will have been helped by a full 90-minute examination while Alan Kelly will have Pat Bonner wondering about his place.

The hosts controlled things from the start leaving Ireland waiting to pick off the attacks. When they managed to break they did so with conviction and purpose and one such raid brought them their first goal on the half-hour.

Matthias Sammer was hustled out of possession and the ball bounced favourably for

Jason McAteer. His cross flew beyond the far post where Cascarino rose to nod home his 12th international goal. The advantage was immediately under threat as Sammer hit the outside of the post with a cross. Then Kelly demonstrated his qualities by managing to get his fingers to a fierce drive from Strunz.

The crowd's demand for Rudi Voller was answered just past the hour but it was an Irish substitute who made more impact as Charlton's team went two ahead. McAteer was only inches away from Steve Staunton's cross but Germany failed to get the clearance away. Kelly seized control, came inside on to his left, weaker, foot, to produce a shot which took a deflection.

GERMANY (1-3-3-1-2): Illgner (Cologne); Matthaus (Bayern Munich); Strunz (VfB Stuttgart), Kohler (Juventus), Wagner (Kaiserslautern); Basler (Werder Bremen), Buchwald (VfB Stuttgart), Sammer (Borussia Dortmund); Moller (Juventus); Klinsmann (Monaco), Riedle (Borussia Dortmund). Substitutes: Berthold (VfB Stuttgart) for Buchwald 35; Effenberg (Fiorentina) for Kohler, h-t; Hassler (Roma) for Moller, h-t; Voller (Marseille) for Riedle, 66.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (4-5-1): A Kelly (Sheffield United); Irwin (Manchster United), McGrath (Aston Villa), Babb (Coventry), Phelan (Manchester City); McAteer (Bolton), Keane (Manchester United), Townsend (Aston Villa), Sheridan (Sheffield Wednesday), Staunton (Aston Villa); Cascarino (Chelsea). Substitutes: Whelan (Liverpool) for Sheridan, h-t; G Kelly (Leeds) for Irwin, h-t; Coyne (Motherwell) for Cascarino, 69; Houghton (Aston Villa) for McAteer, 86.

Referee: G-A Encinar (Spain).

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