Germany, England Reach World Cup

  • Germany, England Reach World Cup

Germany, England Reach World Cup

The same day, Northern Ireland slogs it out with Norway on the road.

"We're in a strong position but equally we have to come here and make sure we take something from tomorrow night to make sure we guarantee ourselves the opportunity of a play-off place".

O'Neill will be proud of his side's effort in the second half, but will just feel that they could have got on the scoreboard to really trouble the Germans.

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 global team. "The worst thing would be to leave players out and then miss out on the play-offs".

As O'Neill said yesterday, "Once those games are played [last night and tonight] the focus on our game heightens at that point".

Expectations levels have gone through the roof but far from being burdened by it, O'Neill and his players take pleasure from the fact it is their almighty punching above their weight on a regular basis that creates it. Sebastian Rudy was just everywhere in the attack as he created several goal scoring chances up field before he struck home the lead for Germany. In the past three head to head records between these two teams, Germany won all the matches. There is no guarantee that 13 points will be enough.

"The fact that we've now already qualified shows that we've had a great World Cup qualification campaign", Germany defender Jerome Boateng was quoted as saying by Germany football association's website.

"Myself, Lars (Lagerback, Norway coach) and the medical team discussed it and agreed that I should go home to get fit again a quickly as possible", the 25-year-old added. We're in the middle of that.

"It would be fantastic for us". We're not going to do that.

"We're still in the situation where we believe we need something to control our own destiny and that is the main focus for us... and hopefully the rankings will be kind to us if we are in one of the eight spots".

Josh Magennis pulled one back for Northern Ireland with a 93rd-minute header as the hosts remained well-placed to make the play-offs.

O'Neill will assess the situation after the other teams have played tonight before finalising his team selection.