Sunderland’s O’Shea wants Brazil World Cup swansong

Ireland's James McClean and Georgia's Irakli Maisuradze (right) battle for the ball during the friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Ireland's James McClean and Georgia's Irakli Maisuradze (right) battle for the ball during the friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin

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JOHN O’SHEA would love his international swansong to be the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

And the Sunderland defender believes it could still happen after the Republic of Ireland side proved a point against England at Wembley last week.

Encouraged by the 1-1 draw in the show-piece friendly. O’Shea believes the Irish must take confidence from the display against England to fuel self-belief they can still qualify for the finals by leapfrogging Austria ad Sweden into the World Cup play-offs.

“We have had our disappointments in the last 12 months or so against Germany at home,” he said.

“But Wednesday’s draw at Wembley was significant because now we have proved to ourselves more than anyone that we can handle a big occasion and a big team and not be overawed.

“I really think that a corner has been turned but the important thing now is that we have to follow that up with wins in the qualifiers against Austria and Sweden.”

O’Shea was rested for last night’s Republic of Ireland friendly against lowly-ranked Georgia at the Aviva Stadium.

But his Sunderland team-mates Keiren Westwood and James McClean both started the game, as did ex-Black Cats defender Paul McShane.

Westwood kept a clean sheet, while McClean provided an assist for the second goal in the Republic’s comfortable 4-0 win.

The Republic warmed up for Friday’s World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands by brushing aside 10-man Georgia.

Georgia keeper Giorgi Loria was shown a straight red card on 20 minutes after upending Shane Long as the striker raced through on goal.

Richard Keogh headed the hosts ahead just before the break and Simon Cox slotted in to make it 2-0.

Substitute Robbie Keane scored twice late on as Georgia wilted.