'Oh s***! - Ireland hero Darren Randolph on his thoughts before Thomas Muller's glaring miss
Published 09/10/2015 | 11:26
Darren Randolph's life flashed before him as Thomas Muller squared up to deliver a body blow to the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 hopes.
The West Ham keeper, who was handed just his third senior cap for Ireland as a 43rd-minute replacement for the injured Shay Given in Thursday night's Group D showdown with world champions Germany, faced his moment of destiny with 12 minutes of a remarkable game remaining.
Ireland were leading 1-0, but facing a late onslaught when Germany full-back Jonas Hector pulled the ball back to Muller, and a crowd of 50,604 at the Aviva Stadium waited for the net to bulge.
Asked what went through his mind at the time, Randolph said: "'Oh s***!'."
Muller's side-footed effort flew just wide of the keeper's right post, although the 28-year-old held his breath as it did so.
He said: "I was happy to see it go wide. I didn't hear anybody cheer when it went past, so I knew I was safe."
It could hardly have been a more memorable night for Randolph, whose senior international career prior to his introduction after Given twisted his right knee had amounted to 45 minutes as a substitute in a friendly against Oman in September 2012 and 16 more against Spain at New York's Yankee Stadium in June the following year.
It was from his towering clearance that fellow substitute Shane Long sped through the German defence and lashed home what proved to be the night's only goal, and he later pulled off vital saves to deny Jerome Boateng and Ilkay Gundogan.
The former Charlton trainee said: "I had a feeling I'd be busy and I was just thankful to make the saves. And an assist, my first one - I meant it as well.
"I'll have to watch it back now because I can't really remember what happened. I was happy it went to one of our players, and then it's a bonus that we scored from it."