Gelsenkirchen: John O'Shea celebrated his 100th cap by scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give Ireland a 1-1 draw with Germany on Tuesday, as the World Cup holders suffered another setback in their 2016 European Championship campaign.
Toni Kroos scored in the second half to put Germany ahead as it sought to bounce back from a loss to Poland.
Kroos hammered home a low drive in the 71st minute with what was then Germany's 17th shot. Ireland only had managed one until then, but O'Shea's late strike stunned Joachim Loew's team.
"Brilliant result, first and foremost. OK, we had to live a little bit dangerously the last 10 or 15 minutes," O'Shea said. "Yeah, look, without a doubt, it's an absolutely fairytale ending, it was incredible, to get the 100th cap and score the goal to equalize against Germany, and hopefully to keep the momentum going to qualify for France."
In Warsaw, Poland drew 2-2 with Scotland to remain top of Group D on goal difference over Ireland, while Georgia won 3-0 at Gibraltar. Poland and Ireland have seven points from three matches, while Germany and Scotland have four each.
Germany easily controlled the match but showed the same kind of weakness it had against Poland, namely using its chances.
Kroos finally broke the deadlock when he picked up the ball, approached the penalty area unopposed and unleashed a powerful drive from 20 meters (yards) that struck the inside of the right post and bounced into the net.
Ireland's veteran striker Robbie Keane left the match in the 63rd having had little impact on the match.
Erik Durm hit the Irish crossbar and goalkeeper David Forde made a string of fine saves to limit Germany to one goal and his performance was rewarded by O'Shea's goal, although Wesley Hoolahan had an effort blocked by Durm.
An overhit cross by Wesley Hoolahan was squared back by Jeff Hendrick and the defender beat Mats Hummels to the ball to nudge past Manuel Neuer.
"It was the only chance for Ireland. We are disappointed," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "We were a bit naive in the last few minutes, we didn't hold the ball, we hit long balls to the front."
"To come back in that fashion was just fantastic," Ireland coach Martin O'Neill said. "They never give up, the players. We've talked about their spirit before. Spirit without ability is something else, but there's a terrific will to keep going in the side. He (O'Shea) was wearing the armband at that particular time. To score that goal was really big for us, obviously."