16.10.2018 at 18:15 Albstadion, Heidenheim
Referee: Karim Abed
Moritz Nicolas (GK),
Jamie Mc Grath
Statto Noel Kings last game as manager of the Under 21 team
Republic of Ireland Under 21s finished in third spot in UEFA U21 European Championships Group Five after a 2-0 defeat by group-winners Germany.
Goals from Jani Serra and Levin Oztunali in the first-half secured the three points for the home side who head to the finals in Italy in 2019.
Goalkeeper Liam Bossin, Jamie McGrath, Shaun Donnellan and Ronan Hale all came into the starting line-up for the game against the group-winners Germany.
It was a difficult night for Noel King's side who were mostly forced into defensive positions but could have gone ahead in the 8th minute.
A well-worked move on the left saw McGrath find captain Josh Cullen in a central position and from 25-yards, his low effort was only parried by keeper Moritz Nicolas. Ronan Hale was quickest to react but he was flagged for offside.
Germany controlled most of the possession but were restricted to few chances until the half-hour. The lively Phillip Ochs' corner found Abdelhamid Sabiri six-yards out but his powerful header was somehow saved by Bossin.
Germany took confidence from this opportunity and a minute later, Huddersfield Town forward Sabiri hit the bar with an audacious effort from 30 yards before the home side took the lead with the very next attack.
Marcel Hartel rode two challenges before releasing the ball to Ochs and he saw his low cross tapped home by Jani Serra five yards out.
Ireland responded well and almost equalised in the 35th minute as Jordan Shipley's left-sided set-piece almost found Ryan Sweeney, but Felix Uduokhai somehow headed clear.
It was 2-0 before the break thanks to a moment of brilliance from Levin Oztunali. After patient build-up play, the FSV Mainz attacker turned onto his left-foot just outside the area and found the top corner in the 39th minute.
Ireland were much improved immediately after the break and almost got back into the game ten minutes into the second-half. Danny Kane did well to win a left-sided corner and Shipley's back-post delivery was headed narrowly wide by Corey Whelan.
Hartel put an over-head kick wide in the 63rd minute but in truth, the home side created few chances during the final 30 minutes of the game.
The best chance of the game came in the final minute of the contest and it was for Ireland. Whelan's lofted set-piece found substitute Jimmy Dunne who headed the ball down for Ryan Delaney, but he hit the post from six-yards out.
"Germany are the best team I've seen at Under 21s level. They were excellent during the first-half and we struggled to keep up with them," said U21 Head Coach Noel King.
"However, after the break, I thought we were brilliant and created a few chances of our own. The players were extremely disciplined and worked really hard both on and off the ball, and they can be extremely proud of their performance."
Germany: Moritz Nicolas (GK), Timo Baumgartl (Lukas Klostermann 75), Robin Koch, Levin Oztunali, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Jani Serra (Luca Waldschmidt 57), Maximillian Mittelstadt, Philipp Ochs, Marcel Hartel, Felix Uduokhai, Johannes Eggestein.
Subs: Alexander Nubel (GK), Arne Maier, Nils Korber, Florian Neuhaus, Maximilian Eggestein.
Ireland: Liam Bossin (GK), Danny Kane (Jimmy Dunne 64), Ryan Sweeney, Ryan Delaney, Corey Whelan, Josh Cullen (C), Shaun Donnellan, Liam Kinsella, Jamie McGrath, Jordan Shipley, Ronan Hale (Reece Grego-Cox 75).
Subs: Kieran O'Hara (GK), Harry Charsley, Joe Quigley, Sean McLoughlin, Jake Mulraney.