World Cup 2018: Michael O'Neill confident Northern Ireland can reach play-offs

Media playback is not supported on this device

'That wasn't in the plan' - NI concede after 83 seconds

Manager Michael O'Neill is confident Northern Ireland will reach the play-offs for the 2018 World Cup despite losing 3-1 to Germany in Belfast.

Northern Ireland remain second in Group C behind world champions Germany, who sealed a place in Russia with victory.

"This was a bonus game for us. Whatever happened in our last two games, we would still finish second in the group," said O'Neill.

"If we need to get something from the Norway game, I am sure we will get it."

Northern Ireland travel to Norway for their final qualifying match on Sunday, aiming to finish among the best eight of the nine group runners-up.

As it stands, they may need a point in Oslo to make sure of reaching the play-offs, the draw for which takes place on 17 October.

Of the eight teams, the highest four in the Fifa rankings which will be published on 16 October will be seeded for the play-offs.

O'Neill said: "We look forward to the Norway game and it will be a bit clearer after the round of games are completed."

Media playback is not supported on this device

Steven Davis and Josh Magennis praise NI resilience against Germany

Northern Ireland were rocked by Sebastian Rudy's second-minute goal at Windsor Park before Sandro Wagner and Joshua Kimmich gave the world champions a 3-0 lead.

Josh Magennis pulled a stoppage-time goal back for the home side.

"At 2-0, you fear it could have gone 4-0 or 5-0," added O'Neill.

"We had to make sure our goal difference, which is in a healthy state, wasn't obliterated because we threw the towel in or our heads went down.

"We were great in the second half and 3-0 would have been harsh. We deserved our goal at the end.

"It was difficult because when you lose a goal so early to a phenomenal strike and you have a game plan in mind, it goes out the window after a minute and 20 seconds."

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 5th October 2017

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France85211551017
2Sweden85121871116
3Netherlands84131611513
4Bulgaria84041317-412
5Luxembourg8125717-105
6Belarus8125416-125

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland88001831524
2Portugal87012842421
3Hungary8314119210
4Faroe Islands8224415-118
5Andorra8116217-154
6Latvia8107318-153

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany99003833527
2Northern Ireland96121751219
3Czech Rep93331210212
4Norway93151616010
5Azerbaijan9315914-510
6San Marino9009246-440

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia85301771018
2Wales8350125714
3R. of Ireland834196313
4Austria8233101009
5Georgia8053812-45
6Moldova8026420-162

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland971124121222
2Denmark96121971219
3Montenegro95131881016
4Romania9333119212
5Armenia9207925-166
6Kazakhstan9027525-202

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England97201731423
2Scotland95221510517
3Slovakia9504147715
4Slovenia9423105514
5Lithuania9135719-126
6Malta9018322-191

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain87103232922
2Italy86111971219
3Albania8413109113
4Israel8305914-59
5Macedonia82151014-47
6Liechtenstein8008134-330

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium87103533222
2Bos-Herze84221981114
3Greece8341115613
4Cyprus8314812-410
5Estonia8224617-118
6Gibraltar8008337-340

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia8512123916
2Iceland8512117416
3Turkey8422128414
4Ukraine8422117414
5Finland8215610-47
6Kosovo8017320-171
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

Top Stories