Ireland’s World Cup dream over after defeat to Austria
AUSTRIA 1 IRELAND 0
The end is nigh - Ireland's World Cup dream is officially over and manager Giovanni Trapattoni is headed for the exit door.
David Alaba broke Irish hearts for the second time in the Group C qualifiers with an 83rd minute winner on Tuesday night.
Alaba scored the last gasp equaliser when Austria drew 2-2 in Dublin last March. And he did it again at the Ernst Happel Stadium with the late goal that kept his team in the World Cup hunt and sentenced Ireland to Brazilian exile next summer.
Once again it was the Bayern Munich youngster who did all the damage, pouncing after Mark Wilson failed to deal with a cross seven minutes from full time.
The goal was no more than Austria deserved in a game neither side could afford to lose after Sweden's 1-0 victory against Kazakhstan in Astana earlier in the day.
A first minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal means the Swedes are now favourites for the runners-up spot in Group C.
Austria can still catch them with two games to go but it all over for Ireland who face Germany away and Kazakhstan at home in their final two group games.
John O'Shea and Richard Dunne won't play any part in the Cologne game after both picked up yellow cards in the last night.
Robbie Keane was also booked on a night when the Irish created precious few chances while David Forde had to make a number of crucial saves at the far end.
The final whistle signalled the first competitive away defeat of the Trapattoni era - and the end of that era.
It is doubtful the Italian will survive this latest defeat and already the smart money is on former Celtic boss Martin O’Neill to replace him.
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