Saturday 12 November 2016, 21:46

Arter: Ireland are in a great spot

Harry Arter believes Republic of Ireland’s victory in Vienna leaves them in a “great spot” to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and Austria with a mountain to climb. The 26-year-old Bournemouth midfielder excelled on his competitive debut – something that ended possibility of him playing for birth country England – negating the considerable threat of David Alaba.

A gorgeous Wes Hoolahan through-ball allowed James McClean to score the only goal at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion. The result left Martin O’Neill’s men two points clear of second-placed Serbia, who drew 1-1 in Wales, in Group D. Wales and Austria are four and six points off the pace respectively.

It was a great result,” said Arter. “Coming here we knew if we got a result we'd put ourselves in a really good position. Austria are going to struggle to qualify now. We are in a great spot.

"There was a bit of negativity surrounding the previous few results and coming here we'd have probably taken a draw. We are looking good at the moment.

"We weren't too good in the first half, but in the second we showed what we are all about. There were a few words from the manager at half-time and we got our minds right and realised we were in for a battle. We did that in the second half and came out with a great result.

Republic of Ireland didn’t qualify for the World Cup until 1990, when they drew with the Netherlands to reach the knockout phase, eliminated Romania on penalties, and lost 1-0 to Italy in the quarter-finals. The third and last World Cup they played at was Korea/Japan 2002.