Ireland stun Germany with last-minute equalizer

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Robbie Keane scores a last-minute goal to give Ireland a 1-1 draw with a stunned Germany in a Group E game in World Cup.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Ibaraki, Japan:

Robbie Keane scored a last-minute goal to give Ireland a 1-1 draw with a stunned Germany today in a Group E game. Keane's right-footed blast came just seconds before the final whistle. Germany had looked set to become the first team to advance to the round of 16, following its 8-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia in its opening match. A 19th-minute goal by striker Miroslav Klose, his fourth World Cup goal in two matches, had given the Germans the lead. But Keane ensured a dramatic change in headlines as he scored the vital equalizer. For many minutes after the match, the Irish team celebrated in front of its enthralled supporters filling the section on the side where Keane scored the equalizer. And nearly half an hour after the final whistle, a couple of dozen diehard Irish supporters were still singing in the stadium as Japanese ushers politely tried to move them out. Ireland had threatened the Germans' goal all night, and the last-minute goal was well deserved. In the 24th minute, Irish midfielder Matt Holland's low strike went just wide of Germany's goal. In the 56th, forward Damien Duff looked like he had the equalizer, but German 'keeper Oliver Kahn made a brilliant deflection. And in the 82nd, Kahn broke up another chance, after Keane came in ahead of the defense. Keane's last touch of the match, however, was the one that counted most. ''Centerforwards score goals, that's their job, to score goals, and he's scored a very vital one,'' remarked a delighted Ireland coach, Mick McCarthy. ''We threw men forward and it paid off. I think we were the better side. The stats will back it up. We were the better team,'' he added. Klose had given the three-time champions the lead on a play set up by a long cross from midfielder Michael Ballack. The Kaiserslautern standout met the pass with a header in the center of the area that went in just to the right of Shay Given, Ireland's goalkeeper. Klose, 23, had produced the tournament's only hat trick thus far against Saudi Arabia. Today's match was much more balanced. Germany nearly made it 2-0 in the 68th when Carsten Jancker's delicate attempt over the charging Given missed the mark. ''I'm extremely angry and disappointed,'' Germany's coach Rudi Voeller said. ''When you're 1-0 up with one minute to go and concede a goal, it hurts. But we're still top of the table and all we need is a point against Cameroon''. The match was played before a crowd of 35,854 at Kashima stadium, in a coastal area northeast of Tokyo. Irish supporters outnumbered a rather small group of German fans and cheered their squad throughout the game. The Germans now have four points in the standings. Ireland is next with two, and Cameroon has one point. (AP) Lineups:Germany: 1-Oliver Kahn (c); 2-Thomas Linke, 5-Carsten Ramelow, 21-Christoph Metzelder; 22-Torsten Frings, 19-Bernd Schneider (16-Jens Jeremies, 90), 13-Michael Ballack, 8-Dietmar Hamann, 6-Christian Ziege; 11-Miroslav Klose (17-Marco Bode, 85), 9-Carsten Jancker (20-Oliver Bierhoff, 75) Ireland: 1-Shay Given; 5-Stephen Staunton (c) (4-Kenny Cunningham, 88), 18-Gary Kelly (17-Niall Quinn, 73), 3-Ian Harte (21-Steven Reid, 73), 14-Gary Breen; 8-Matt Holland, 12-Mark Kinsella, 11-Kevin Kilbane, 2-Steve Finnan; 9-Damien Duff, 10-Robbie Keane Referee: Kim Milton Nielsen, Denmark

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