Germany seals World Cup 2018 place with 3-1 victory in Belfast

Tricia Pearson
October 7, 2017

Wagner had a penalty claim dismissed when he tangled with Conor McLaughlin but he got a goal moments later, in the 21st minute, as he collected Thomas Muller's pass, turned on the edge of the box and rifled beyond McGovern.

Michael O'Neill's men last lost a qualifier in Belfast to Portugal in September 2013 when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and, while they were undone by arguably the world's best player that night, they were beaten 3-1 here by perhaps the planet's finest worldwide team.

"We want to defend our title, of course".

Of the eight teams, the highest four in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings which will be published on 16 October - Northern Ireland are now 20th - will be seeded for the playoffs.

'There is a real importance to the result in Norway because obviously we want to go there and try and get three points, and we certainly want to make sure we're not beaten.

Josh Magennis headed Northern Ireland's objective in blockage time.

"We are more than confident going into Oslo despite this defeat".

"We felt on the pitch that we had everything under control in the second half".

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The 33-year-old maestro was born in Albacete but moved to Barcelona at 12 and joined La Masia, the club's world-famous academy.

And although Northern Ireland scored in the closing stages, it was a consolation as it came after Kimmich's goal for Die Meinschaft.

Were the rest of them to secure worldwide football's most coveted prize four years on, Germany would emulate the Italian sides of 1934 and 1938, and the Brazilian outfits of 1958 and 1962 in successfully defending their title.

"(The result) doesn't damage our healthy goal difference in the second place table.

Sebastian Rudy shot into the top corner in the second minute to put the 2014 champions ahead. "It would be nice to go through this campaign and say that Germany are the only team to beat us".

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website and bring you more relevant advertising. In Hanover we played with one upfront we got a bit of joy.

"In September 2016 we looked at our group and told ourselves we wanted to dominate that group, make no compromises and possibly not drop any points either, which we've managed to do with a neat goal average to boot. Players believe they can win from that platform".

"Michael (O'Neill) needed to switch it up at half time and he showed he's not afraid to do that with the decision he made". We clawed our way back in and what we gave in the second half was fantastic.

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