Steve Finnan played the second half as the Republic of Ireland began their World Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw against Cameroon in Niigata.
The Irish, without absent skipper Roy Keane, fielded a host of English-based players and after a slow first-half start in which Cameroon edged them out, improved significantly after the break to take a point.
Finnan had a good half after replacing Sunderland's Jason McAteer at the interval, while his arrival played some part in his team's upturn in fortune as they wiped out Cameroon's 39th-minute opener from Patrick Mboma.
Coach Mick McCarthy had clearly said something right in his half-time teamtalk as his troops equalised on 52 minutes through a well-struck shot from Ipswich skipper Matt Holland.
They could have taken a lead themselves late on when Leeds striker Robbie Keane struck the post, so the African Nations Cup holders can consider themselves fairly lucky to finish with a point from their opening Group E encounter.
The Republic of Ireland are next in action on June 5 when they take on Germany, while the Indomitable Lions play potential group whipping boys Saudi Arabia the following day.
Source: Team Talk