SHANE Long helped keep the Republic of Ireland’s chances of qualifying for next year’s World Cup alive in last night’s valuable 2-2 draw with Austria in Dublin.
Jonathan Walters slotted home a penalty after the 26-year-old Baggies striker was felled inside the area by Emanuel Pogatetz.
Ireland, who can still seal a place at Rio 2014 via the playoffs, were moments away from grabbing all three Group C points, but David Alaba’s stoppage-time strike levelled the game.
Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley played all of Northern Ireland’s 2-0 Group F defeat by Israel at Windsor Park.
Gabriel Tamas did not miss a minute of Romania’s 4-0 Group D loss to Holland in Amsterdam.
Ben Foster watched on as England drew 1-1 with Montenegro in Group H, while Romelu Lukaku also remained on the bench throughout Belgium’s 1-0 victory over Macedonia in Group A and Graham Dorrans was an unused sub as Scotland lost 2-0 to Serbia.
Jonas Olsson was substituted at half-time in Sweden’s 0-0 friendly draw with Slovakia in Zilina.
And Craig Dawson played the opening 45 minutes of England U21s’ 4-0 triumph over Austria at the American Express Community Stadium, Brighton on Monday.