Ireland coach Mick McCarthy was delighted that the team had bounced back from the traumatic events of the past fortnight to secure a deserved draw against Cameroon.

“I told the players at half-time that we hadn’t worked for two years to get to the finals and throw it away in the first match,” he said.

“I thought we were magnificent in the second-half and that we probably deserved to win it in the end.

“However we have to produce two similar performances if we are to go through to the second round.

“It was a great goal by Matty, though he tellsme he mis-hit it!”

Cameroon coach Winfried Schafer was disappointed his team had not held on for the win.

“We were cast in the role of favourites and that’s something you have to deal with,” the German-born coach said.

“Now it means the match against Germany will be decisive – which is something I wanted to avoid.

“However we represented African football with dignity today and we can still make a real impression on the tournament.”