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International Round-up: Steven Davis and Shane Long fire their countries to glory

It was a great day for Saints' stars on international duty

Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Yesterday was a great day for Southampton's stars on international duty

Steven Davis helped himself to two goals which sealed Northern Ireland's place at EURO 2016 in France.

After breaking his barren goalscoring spell by smashing in the opener against Chelsea on Saturday, Davis was well and truly in the mood to grab more goals for his country against EURO 2004 winners Greece in a comfortable 3-1 victory at Windsor Park.

Davis scored the opener on this occasion as well, having forced the ball home following a low cross from the right on the 35th minute.

Northern Ireland's top scorer Kyle Lafferty was suspended from appearing in this crucial match. But, his replacement Josh Magennis scored a vital header to make it 2-0.

Davis then netted his second with a long-range header which flew past the despairing Greek goalkeeper, before Greece's Christos Aravidis slotted home a late consolation goal.

Davis' impressive performance as captain means Michael O'Neill will lead Northern Ireland out in their first major tournament since the World Cup in 1986.


The other side of Ireland also had a great night as Shane Long scored the winner to help the Republic of Ireland record a vital win over 2014 World Cup winners Germany.

This shock win has left Ireland's fate in their own hands as their next and final match will see them take on Poland, who occupy 2nd place in their qualifying group above Ireland on goal difference.

Long's goal was a great example of route one football. But, his take from the long upfield ball from the goalkeeper was perfect before slamming the ball home past Manuel Neuer in the German goal with great aplomb.

This win means Martin O'Neill's men at least have at least got the third place play-off spot secured as Poland broke Scottish hearts with a last-gasp equaliser to rule former Saints boss Gordon Strachan's Tartan Army out of EURO 2016 reckoning.


In other news, Jose Fonte and Cedric featured in Portugal's 1-0 win over Denmark which saw them secure qualification to the tournament.

In the same group, Dusan Tadic helped Serbia to a 2-0 win away at fierce rivals Albania. Serbia have no chance of qualifying for EURO 2016 after the previous fixture between the two countries was abandoned due to trouble on and off the pitch which culminated in a points deduction applied to Serbia.

Maya Yoshida also helped Japan to victory as they ran out 3-0 winners against Syria on neutral territory. Keisuke Honda, Shinji Okazaki and Takashi Usami all netted to help Japan move to the top of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group.