John O'Shea has warned the Republic of Ireland they will need to become more streetwise if they are to realise their World Cup dreams.
A team featuring only two of the men who started Ireland's final game at the Euro 2012 finals last summer - defender O'Shea and midfielder Glenn Whelan - came within seconds of taking a firm grip on second place in Group C on Tuesday night as they led rivals Austria 2-1 deep into injury time before the match ended 2-2 and Ireland remain in fourth.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni bemoaned the relative inexperience of his new-look side in the immediate aftermath of the game, and O'Shea agreed by saying: "It's hugely frustrating, but we need to learn from this experience - the young lads as well - in the last few minutes of games to kill teams off, just kill the game off and keep the ball."
He added: "They (Austria) were very clever and the referee bought a lot of their fouls in the second half, he was giving them a lot of easy decisions.
"They were just jumping and screaming half the time and he gave the free-kicks, which is a little bit frustrating. But it's something in international football you have to grow up and learn from quickly."
The draw, which gave Ireland two of a possible six points from their trip to Sweden and the clash with the Austrians in Dublin, was all the more frustrating as they had recovered from a bad start to force their way in front.
Ciaran Clark was punished for dwelling on the ball with just 11 minutes gone when he was robbed by Zlatko Junuzovic, who set up Martin Harnik to score, but the Republic were back on level terms after Jon Walters converted from the penalty spot.
Shane Long was desperately unfortunate not to give his side the lead when he cleverly back-heeled James McClean's shot against the foot of the post, but Walters struck again with a header in first-half injury time.
It was a lead they would defend until the dying moments when, with Trapattoni's men retreating ever deeper, David Alaba netted the equaliser.
O'Shea said: "To get ourselves back into the game so well and to look like we are picking up a massive three points, the frustration is incredible. But we gave Austria half a sniff. They were very fortunate with the goal as well - it deflected off one of the lads' legs. If we had let the lad shoot, it probably would have gone straight into Fordey's arms."