Giovanni Trapattoni insists Republic of Ireland are still in hunt for 2014 World Cup qualification

Austria scored a late equaliser last night to dent their chances

Giovanni Trapattoni insists the Republic of Ireland remain firmly in the hunt for World Cup qualification despite suffering a heartbreaking setback against Austria.

The Republic came within seconds of climbing into second place in Group C and giving themselves a genuine chance of claiming a play-off spot when Austria midfielder David Alaba snatched a draw with an injury-time equaliser at the Aviva Stadium.

However, Trapattoni is refusing to give up on his hopes of guiding Ireland to the finals in Brazil next summer after the 2-2 draw.

He said: "There is a long way to go and we have the same possibility we had. This team can grow more in confidence and personality.

"Obviously, I am not satisfied with this draw, but I have got to accept that we were missing a bit of experience.

"But we hit the post through Shane Long and the [last] goal was a deflection, so I can say we have been a little bit unlucky - a little bit, but not much."

Alaba's last-gasp strike was all the more dispiriting for Trapattoni and his players after they had fought their way back from a losing position to take the lead and preserve it until the game's final throes.

The visitors took an 11th-minute lead when Zlatko Junuzovic caught defender Ciaran Clark in possession and fed Martin Harnik, whose deft finish gave David Forde no chance.

But Ireland were handed a lifeline when Emanuel Pogatetz brought down Long and Jon Walters converted from the penalty spot with 25 minutes gone.

Walters headed the Republic into the lead in first-half injury time and they were to maintain their advantage until the dying seconds, when Alaba's long-range effort clipped substitute Sean St Ledger and flew past Forde to deny Trapattoni's men victory.

As a result, it is Austria who will head into the next round of matches in June sitting in second behind leaders Germany, although only on goal difference from Sweden, who have a game in hand, and the Republic.

Trapattoni had targeted four points from this month's double-header and Friday night's draw in Stockholm had set them up perfectly.

However, the late, late blow added fuel to the fires of the 74-year-old's detractors, and amid speculation that former Reading boss Brian McDermott has been lined up as a potential replacement, rumours of his impending demise are unlikely to go away.

But the veteran Italian, who survived in the aftermath of October's 6-1 home defeat by the Germans, was remaining defiant once again.

Asked if he would still be in the job when the Faroe Islands arrive in Dublin in June, he said: "Why not? We are the same in the table. It has not changed."

Opposite number Marcel Koller left the Aviva Stadium the happier, but he we refused to concede that the draw had handed the advantage to his side's next opponents, Sweden.

He said: "We don't know that yet. We haven't played against Sweden yet, so it will all depend on the game in Vienna in June."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen