Republic of Ireland must beat Serbia on Tuesday, says boss Martin O'Neill

Republic of Ireland players in Georgia
Republic of Ireland had 26% of possession in Georgia

Republic of Ireland must give Serbia less room than they gave Georgia when they host the group leaders in a must-win World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, manager Martin O'Neil said.

After Saturday's lacklustre 1-1 draw in Tbilisi, O'Neill's side trail Serbia - who beat Moldova 3-0 - by two points in Group D with three games to play.

Only the group winners are guaranteed a place in next summer's finals.

"We'll have to be really, really at our best to win the game," said O'Neill.

"It will have to be a phenomenal effort to beat them. That's what we have to do."

"We have to obviously play better and give the Serbians less room to play than we gave the Georgians tonight, particularly in the first half."

It had all started so well for the Republic of Ireland in Tblisi when defender Shane Duffy headed them in front, but Valeri Kazaishvili's equaliser 11 minutes before the break was no more than Georgia deserved, and it was they who looked the more likely winners throughout.

It leaves the Republic, who are unbeaten in this qualifying campaign, with a fight on their hands to claim top spot, with eight of nine group runners-up facing a play-off to try to reach next year's finals in Russia.

Group D table

"We scored early on in the game and sat back and allowed Georgia to dominate the game. When we did get the ball, we gave it away cheaply and certainly the first half was as poor as we have played this campaign," O'Neill added.

Winger James McClean told Sky Sports: "All around we weren't good enough: our passing, our energy, our defending, our finishing.

"They're a lot better than what people think when you look at their results through the group.

"Saying that, I believe we're better but tonight we didn't show that."

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