Football: Ireland face tough test to qualify for Euro 2016 despite historic win

Irish players celebrating after scoring against Germany on Oct 8.
Irish players celebrating after scoring against Germany on Oct 8. PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBLIN (REUTERS) - Beating world champions Germany at home for the first time in almost 60 years on Thursday may have won coach Martin O'Neill a place in Ireland's sporting history, but his team are still yet to secure a place at Euro 2016.

Despite the 70th-minute wonder goal from Shane Long that won the game against the run of play, O'Neill's team will need a win or a high-scoring draw against Poland in Warsaw on Sunday to qualify, should leaders Germany pick up a point against Georgia in their final outing.

Should Germany suffer another shock defeat, then any sort of draw will take Ireland through.

"You'd think that beating the Germans, the world champions, would be worthy of winning the tournament, but... we haven't even qualified," O'Neill said. "I'm naturally delighted to win the game," he said. "I'll think about Poland tomorrow morning."

O'Neill's team had been all but written off for qualification before they received a lifeline when rivals Scotland suffered a shock defeat to Georgia in September.

When Scotland took a 2-1 lead against Poland in the other big Group D match on Thursday, it forced O'Neill's side to take some risks as they went in search of a winner.

Poland went on to equalise in injury time for a 2-2 draw that eliminated Scotland.

"I heard that Scotland had scored, so I felt that we had to go win the game," O'Neill said. "Obviously the goal gave us a great lift."

O'Neill dismissed a quip by Germany coach Joachim Loew that Ireland had scored their winning goal via their 100th long ball.

"In the first half I thought we gave away possession a bit too easily. I thought we were exceptionally brave in the second half... to get on the ball in tight situations and not panic," he added. "I thought we were brilliant."