Serbia loss gives Wales and Ireland fresh hope in qualifying

Wales celebrate vs Austria 020917

Serbia loss gives Wales and Ireland fresh hope in qualifying

In a short spell, Murphy had tripled his worldwide goal tally in the first half, and given Ireland a shot at qualification as they chase Wales and Serbia. He's an inspirational figure and a hero to a lot of players in the squad. But that system, and the energy levels of an Ireland side which had five players over the age of 30, will face a much bigger test in Cardiff. EA replied mockingly to the Championship player "Wrong league mate".

Leaders Serbia have got one foot in next summer's World Cup finals, requiring one win from their final two matches to secure automatic qualification.

Ireland are no slouches themselves and kept themselves in the running with a 2-0 win over Moldova, who are bottom of the Group, but it will be a completely different kettle of fish on Monday.

Moldova have been known to pull off a shock upset; with the side having claimed two points already in this campaign following a 2-2 draw against Georgia and a 1-1 in the return leg across the campaign. The Nottingham Forest man was deservedly named Man of the Match for his two splendid goals and anyone within the Aviva Stadium could see that he was desperate to complete his hat-trick. It was nearly like something out of a video game.

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Objectives achieved for Martin O'Neill's side, they take this 2-0 win, hopefully a confidence booster, as they head to Cardiff for Monday's must win match against Wales.

But he could now prove to be pivotal when Ireland head back to Cardiff on Monday. While Wales are without Gareth Bale, Ireland struggled to create except from long balls and crosses. When the Boys in Green won corners or throw-ins high up the pitch, Meyler was the one sitting deep, watching, dictating and leading Ireland to their best home performance of the campaign.

Keane was in the news yesterday after McIlroy said he was refused an autograph as a child by the then Ireland captain but O'Neill said: "I think Roy will be fine". Sometimes he gets [criticised unfairly]. "But he's been excellent for me and I actually think he's enjoying it here, too". "We work nights so I might have to sneak into the boss's office and take a look at it on the computer", he said.

Uncapped Scott Hogan, Sean Maguire and Aiden O'Brien's surprise inclusions raised hopes of injecting fresh impetus into Ireland's forward division but instead, it was a 34-year-old Waterford native who grabbed his opportunity.

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