Friday, 20 October, 2017

Germany end Northern Ireland's home run and crisis talk

Northern Ireland at Windsor Park Northern Ireland at Windsor Park
Clarence Duncan | 07 October, 2017, 00:22

Northern Ireland's only goals conceded in qualifying had been the two Germany scored in their previous meeting a year ago in Hannover.

Courageous and gallant Northern Ireland failed in their mission impossible last night but will head to Oslo this morning buoyed by an impressive second half performance against Germany.

Elsewhere in Europe, England also sealed their qualification for the tournament in Russian Federation after defeating Slovenia 1-0 on Thursday. They have six players one booking from a one-match suspension.

Sebastian Rudy's rocket put the world champions ahead inside two minutes before Sandro Wagner underlined their dominance with a fine second midway through the first half.

Sebastian Rudy, whose brilliant second-minute strike from distance set the Germans on their way on Thursday, has warned the other countries hoping to lift the World Cup in Russian Federation that the current holders do not want to hand it over.

Thomas Muller rolled the pass into the Hoffenheim forward and he took a touch to open his body up and turn away from McAuley before ruthlessly rifling a left-footed attempt beyond McGovern.

Northern Ireland were much improved in the second half, and saw a lot more of the ball in advanced areas but just didn't have that final ball to trouble the German defence.

Liverpool star Emre Can has been included in Joachim Low's squad but is likely to start the game on the bench.

"3-1 against a team of this calibre is respectably", said O'Neill speaking to the media after the game in Windsor Park.

"Any goal from any our players would have been great especially after we created so many chances in the second half".

Conor Washington rattled the bar and Josh Magennis brought the rambunctious home crowd to...

Manchester City's Leroy Sane then had a chance to seal the game for Germany, as he jinked past two defenders easily but he blazed his shot way over the bar.

But Joshua Kimmich finished off the match with a volley off a high ball at the back post in the 86th minute.

Northern Ireland should have made it 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining after the industrious Magennis got the better of Mats Hummels and set up Washington whose rising effort struck the crossbar.

The only way Northern Ireland will be assured of a play-off spot before kicking off against Norway on Sunday is if Bosnia and Herzegovina fail to beat Belgium and Greece do not defeat Cyprus on Saturday.

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