Holders Germany secured their place at next year’s World Cup with a convincing 3-1 win over Northern Ireland in their qualifier at Windsor Park.

A stunning strike from Sebastian Rudy after less than two minutes set the tone for a dominant first-half display by the world champions and Sandro Wagner, who also hit the post, added a second.

Play-off chasing Northern Ireland, who remain second in Group C, hit the bar through Conor Washington but the outstanding Joshua Kimmich made victory certain before Josh Magennis’ injury-time consolation.

What they said

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill said: “I’m not sure if there’s a system you can come up with that can contain Germany. The quality of their play at times is breathtaking, in terms of how they move the ball and the movement of their players. We had two League One players and Championship players, they don’t play that style, players of that calibre. It’s a huge education for our players and it will acquit us well. One thing I’ll say about playing Germany, whoever you play after seems a lot easier!”Germany coach Joachim Low said: “Northern Ireland have a population of just under 2,000,000 and they were absolutely competitive in our group. There has been hardly any gap (in the group) between them and us. Of course it will be tremendously difficult to beat a team like Portugal or Italy over two games but they can do it.”

Tweet of the match

Star man – Kimmich

The Bayern Munich star underlined his growing reputation with a fine display. The 22-year-old was a potent attacking force both charging down the right and cutting inside. He linked well with the midfield and Northern Ireland’s wing-backs struggled to deal with him. He capped his display with a deserved goal in the closing minutes.

Moment of the match

The world champions made a brilliant start, opening the scoring through Rudy with just over one minute on the clock. A Leon Goretzka cross was cleared only to the edge of the area by Lee Hodson and Kimmich teed up the onrushing Rudy. The Bayern Munich man let fly with a ferocious shot which gave Michael McGovern no chance, shaving the post as it went in.

Data point

Germany’s early goal was the first Northern Ireland had conceded in competitive football for a whole year, the previous breach coming against the same opponents last October. The playing time between the goals equated to eight hours and 45 minutes.


Northern Ireland: Michael McGovern 7, Conor McLaughlin 6, Lee Hodson 5, Gareth McAuley 6, Jonny Evans 6, Chris Brunt 5, Corry Evans 6, Oliver Norwood 6, Steven Davis 6, Josh Magennis 7, Kyle Lafferty 6. Substitutes: Stuart Dallas (on for Hodson, 46) 6, Conor Washington (on for Lafferty, 69) 6, George Saville (on for Corry Evans, 80) 7.Germany: Marc-Andre ter Stegen 6, Marvin Plattenhardt 7, Jerome Boateng 6, Mats Hummels 6, Joshua Kimmich 9, Toni Kroos 7, Sebastian Rudy 9, Julian Draxler 7, Thomas Muller 7, Leon Goretzka 5, Sandro Wagner 9. Substitutes: Emre Can (on for Goretzka, 65) 6, Leroy Sane (on for Draxler, 72) 5, Lars Stindl (on for Muller, 83) 6

Who’s up next

Northern Ireland beat Norway 2-0 at Windsor Park when the two sides met in the World Cup qualifier in MarchNorthern Ireland beat Norway 2-0 at Windsor Park when the two sides met in the World Cup qualifier in March (Niall Carson/PA)

Norway v Northern Ireland (World Cup qualifying Group C, October 8)

Germany v Azerbaijan (World Cup qualifying Group C, October 8)