It's fair to say the captain's armband has transformed Seamus Coleman's Ireland career. This is not to criticise his performances before the Euros, only to say his leadership abilities have been very much to the fore ever since he was named captain after John O'Shea was dropped in Lille for that famous win against Italy.
Coleman was immense last night in Vienna. One passage of play, towards the death, particularly summed up his captain's performance. As injury time ticked on, Austria sensed that Ireland was vulnerable and pushed forward for the equaliser. Arnautovic conned Meyler and Coleman with a clever backheel up the wing and Alaba broke onto the ball in open space. Panic stations. Austria had numbers.
Coleman, not noted for his footspeed, turned and harried down the wing in a footrace with Alaba. It was a fascinating moment, the best player from each team, one on the attack, the other desperately chasing. Look at Coleman bend his back and tear into the turf. This is after 93 minutes of draining football. Alaba is the faster of the two men but he has the ball. Still it seems certain he has the beating of Coleman.
But amazingly, Coleman closes the gap. He doesn't get the ball off Alaba but his breathless intervention was not in vain. He gets his body to Alaba, altering his own momentum and knocking himself off balance, tumbling to the ground and falling over in the process.
But even on the ground, Coleman would not accept defeat.
By restricting Alaba's space, Coleman has ensured that the Bayern Munich star couldn't play a direct pass into the box to the two awaiting Austrian players. Alaba, to his credit, strikes a brilliant ball to the back of the box, which Baumgartlinger volleyed right at Janko, who put his header wide.
If Alaba gets into the penalty area unabated, it's likely the match ends much differently. After the match Coleman was extremely hoarse, but extremely proud.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 12, 2016