They will, however, go into the play-off first leg without central defender John O’Shea, who was sent off for a second bookable offence for a stoppage-time foul on Lewandowski, and striker Jonathan Walters, who collected his third caution of the group phase for a late challenge on the same man. Walters had earlier given the visitors hope of a positive result – a 2-2 draw at the Narodowy Stadium would have put them through – by converting a 16th-minute penalty after Grzegorz Krychowiak had opened the scoring, but Lewandowski won it with a powerful header three minutes before the break. The Republic are likely to face Ukraine, Croatia, Bosnia, Sweden or Denmark over two legs next month, but having improved their play-off record with a 5-1 aggregate victory over Estonia four years ago, they will hope to repeat the feat this time around. Keane, 35, said: “Look, we’ve been successful in the play-offs. “Having that hunger and desire, knowing that there’s a massive prize at the end of it, playing at the European Championships – some players never get get the opportunity to play in these competitions. “We’ve been lucky enough that we have quite a few who know what it’s like, the atmosphere that gets created around it for everybody. “To have a European Championship on your CV, that’s an opportunity the lads certainly have to be mindful of. “We all have to go on thinking we have a great chance regardless of who we get because we’re a good team.” With only three of the nine groups completed, it remains to be seen which of the third place teams qualifies automatically by virtue of their superior record, and which seven others join Martin O’Neill’s men in the shoot-out, but it is highly unlikely they will be seeded. Keane said: “What we have to do is to forget about it as much as we all can. I know it’s difficult, but we have to try. “We said at the end there, we’ve got a play-off and if you looked at the group overall back at the start of the campaign, would you have accepted third spot at the time? “People would probably have said ‘yeah’. “When you’re in with a chance and you think you can take second spot, then of course it’s a disappointment. “But I think that we have to try to move on as quickly as possible and try to make sure that the lads going back to their clubs, they’ll be fully focused on that, but that they have it in the backs of their minds that we have big games in a month’s time and we still have the chance to go to the European Championship in France. “There’s still something in it.” The defeat in Poland was just Ireland’s second of the campaign, and the goals they conceded only the sixth and seventh in 10 games. The Republic saw the opportunity to clinch automatic qualification for the Euro 2016 finals slip from their grasp in Warsaw on Sunday evening when Robert Lewandowski’s goal secured a 2-1 victory for the home side in the final round of Group D fixtures. Germany’s win over Georgia by the same score in Leipzig meant the world champions topped the group despite their shock defeat in Dublin three days earlier and the Poles finished second, leaving Ireland with the consolation prize of a play-off place. Press Association Skipper Robbie Keane has told his Republic of Ireland team-mates to forget the disappointment of defeat in Poland to ensure they make the most of their second chance.
Julia Erickson | Daily TrojanAwards on lock · Senior midfielder and defender Savannah Levin was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week Tuesday.Returning home after a 2-0 win at Arizona State, the No. 5 women’s soccer team welcomes Washington State to McAlister Field on Thursday. The Women of Troy had their program-record 10-game winning streak halted against Cal two matches ago, but they rebounded with a clean shutout of Arizona State over the weekend. Now, they hope to work on a new streak, starting with two in a row against the Cougars.Last time out, USC got back in the win column thanks to goals from redshirt senior forward Katie Johnson and senior midfielder and defender Savannah Levin, along with another shutout from redshirt senior goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme. The Women of Troy’s success so far this season has been built on a high-octane, but unselfish offense — and a stone wall between the sticks.Johnson’s seven goals are tied with senior midfielder Morgan Andrews for the most on the team, and four other players have chipped in with multiple scores this fall, including six from redshirt junior forward Alex Anthony. A whopping nine Women of Troy have also recorded more than one assist, and Prudhomme has conceded just seven goals in 14 games. Prudhomme now has nine clean sheets on the year and has let in two goals on just one occasion: the team’s season opener at Santa Clara. Simply put, the Women of Troy score often and are rarely scored against — an effective, if not revolutionary, strategy.USC is currently the fifth-ranked team in the nation, but head coach Keidane McAlpine’s group is looking up at four schools in the Pac-12 standings. With five games left to play in the regular season (all in-conference matchups), the Women of Troy are within spitting distance of the conference summit, as Colorado, Cal, Stanford and Utah are all within a game of USC. A matchup against Washington State (1-5 in Pac-12 play) might be just what the Women of Troy need to make up that short gap. Utah and Colorado take on both Northern California teams in this week’s slate of games, making it a prime opportunity for USC to catapult itself into the Pac-12 lead.The Cougars won’t be easy prey, however. Although USC edged Washington State 1-0 in both of the teams’ previous two meetings, the Cougars claimed a 2-0 victory the last time they visited Los Angeles. They grabbed their first conference win of the season a week ago against Arizona State but lost to Utah in their most recent game. Washington State is yet to win on the road this year, and the Women of Troy will look pile on and hand the Cougars their sixth loss in seven matches.The Women of Troy will kick off at 2 p.m. on Thursday before returning to McAlister Field on Sunday to host Washington.
“For me it was very important for him to take confidence and take that first goal,” said Emery.“He did not start in the first 11 today but when he was on he scored within a minute and that gives confidence for both him and us.“We are happy because I think this shows the commitment we have in training and the quality and the understanding of our tactical position.“I think we are in the first competition in the world, and we must keep taking confidence.”Alexandre Lacazette scored two impressive goals before substitute Ramsey added a third and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted twice.Frenchman Lacazette claimed the opening goal of the London derby at Craven Cottage when he spun on Nacho Monreal’s cutback before drilling the ball past Marcus Bettinelli.But Fulham drew level before the break as Luciano Vietto pounced on a loose pass by Monreal to thread the ball through to Andre Schurrle, who chipped over Gunners keeper Bernd Leno.Arsenal were a different side after the interval and Bettinelli – called up by England this week – produced the save of the game to keep out a fierce strike from Hector Bellerin, moments before Lacazette added his second – an early strike from long range which seemed to catch the Fulham keeper by surprise as it nestled in the bottom corner.Ramsey was introduced in the 67th minute – and the Welshman added a third just 39 seconds later as Arsenal moved from left to right with one-touch passing and neat headers, before Aubameyang cut the ball back for Ramsey to flick past Bettinelli.Aubameyang added a fourth when he swivelled on a low cross from Bellerin to side-foot the ball into the far corner, before the Gabon striker rounded off the scoring after a neat low finish to cap a thoroughly entertaining victory in the derby.A sixth consecutive Premier League victory for Arsenal moved Unai Emery’s men up to third in the table, a point behind Manchester City and Liverpool, who meet at Anfield later on Sunday.Fulham remain just above the relegation zone in 17th.The Liverpool versus Manchester City clash rarely lived up to the pre-match hype as the Reds started brightly as Mohamed Salah shot wide.But there was late drama when Virgil van Dijk brought down Leroy Sane with a few minutes to play.Algeria international Mahrez blazed the resulting spot kick over, but City will still go into the international break on top of the Premier League table.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Arsenal manager Unai Emery said Aaron Ramsey is a “very important player” for the club after his goal of the season contender helped the Gunners thrash Fulham 5-1.Elsewhere later yesterday, Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty as Liverpool and Manchester City fought out a goalless draw at Anfield.A contract offer to Ramsey was withdrawn last month but the Wales midfielder showed his quality when he created and finished a stunning team move to help Arsenal to a ninth straight win in all competitions – their best run since April 2015.