World Cup Qualifying - European - Group C
GermanyGermany2Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland0

World Cup 2018: Germany 2-0 Northern Ireland

By Richard PetrieBBC Sport NI
Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley challenges Thomas Muller of Germany
Northern Ireland conceded more than one goal for the first time since November 2014

First-half goals by Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira earned Germany victory over Northern Ireland in their 2018 World Cup Group C qualifier in Hanover.

Draxler unleashed a right-foot shot into the bottom corner on 13 minutes.

Khedira nodded in the second four minutes later after Mats Hummels out-jumped the visitors' defence to head across goal to the Juventus midfielder.

Northern Ireland are third in the group on four points, with Germany top after winning their first three games.

Azerbaijan remain second in the table having retained their unbeaten record with a goalless draw against the Czech Republic.

Norway secured their first points of the qualifying campaign by defeating San Marino 4-1.

On the defensive

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill's team selection reflected the change of emphasis from attack for Saturday's 4-0 win over San Marino to defence for the inevitable rearguard action against the four-time world champions.

Aaron Hughes came in to win his 104th cap and joined fellow experienced defenders Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans in a back three, with Lee Hodson and Shane Ferguson deployed as wing-backs and the defensively-minded Corry Evans named in midfield.

Although the Germans predictably dominated territory and possession, Northern Ireland posed an attacking threat on the counter-attack.

Josh Magennis, preferred to Kyle Lafferty and Conor Washington in the lone striker role, was the visitors' stand-out player, working tirelessly throughout.

O'Neill's men were unable to convert a couple of breakaway chances in the first half, Jamie Ward's weak finish being easily gathered by Manuel Neuer and Magennis seeing his well-struck drive saved by the Germany goalkeeper.

All over in four minutes

Goalkeeper Michael McGovern was the hero when the sides last met at the Euro 2016 finals in Paris in June, making a number of outstanding saves to keep the final score down to 1-0.

The Norwich stopper was in action early on as he palmed away a Mario Gotze header, but poor defending in the early stages cost Northern Ireland dear as Draxler and Khedira found the net in that decisive four-minute spell.

Draxler shrugged off Gareth McAuley for the opening goal, while Khedira used his height advantage to climb above the Northern Ireland defence for the second.

The hosts had a number of chances to add to their tally in the second half but McGovern was rarely troubled, as Khedira in particular was guilty of profligacy in front of goal.

Man of the match - Josh Magennis

Northern Ireland striker Josh Magennis
Josh Magennis produced a busy display up front for Northern Ireland

The facts you need to know

  • Sami Khedira scored his first international goal in 1,099 minutes of action. Indeed, it was his first goal since the 7-1 win against Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.
  • Northern Ireland conceded more than one goal in an international game for the first time since losing 2-0 in Romania in a European Championship qualifier in November 2014.
  • The defeat is Northern Ireland's first in a qualifying game for almost two years, having previously gone eight unbeaten.
  • Joachim Low won his 94th game as Germany coach, equalling Sepp Herberger's record.
  • Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern conceded more than one goal for the first time in the 18 internationals he has played.

What's next?

With the Germans strongly fancied to top the group, Northern Ireland's hopes of securing second place, and with it a shot at making Russia 2018 through the play-offs, will rest on less daunting fixtures than their visit to the formidable third-ranked team in the Fifa world standings.

The men in green host Azerbaijan in a potentially key match at Windsor Park on 11 November, with the Czech Republic entertaining Norway and San Marino at home to Germany on the same night.

What they said

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill: "I was disappointed to go behind the way we did and to lose the second goal at that point in the game when we were trying to contain them.

"In the end if we had taken anything from here it would have been a huge bonus and whatever happens in the group, I don't see any of the other teams coming here and winning, so it's far from a disaster.

"We look forward to the game against Azerbaijan now and we have the incentive of going second in the group if we win that game."

Line-ups

Germany

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Neuer
  • 18Kimmich
  • 17BoatengSubstituted forMustafiat 69'minutes
  • 5Hummels
  • 3HectorSubstituted forVollandat 81'minutes
  • 8Kroos
  • 6Khedira
  • 13Müller
  • 10ÖzilSubstituted forGündoganat 45'minutes
  • 7Draxler
  • 19Götze

Substitutes

  • 2Mustafi
  • 4Höwedes
  • 11Rudy
  • 12Leno
  • 14Meyer
  • 15Weigl
  • 16Brandt
  • 20Volland
  • 21Gündogan
  • 22ter Stegen

Northern Ireland

Formation 5-4-1

  • 1McGovern
  • 6Hodson
  • 18Hughes
  • 4McAuley
  • 5Evans
  • 3FergusonBooked at 74mins
  • 13Evans
  • 16NorwoodSubstituted forMcNairat 73'minutes
  • 8Davis
  • 19WardSubstituted forMcGinnat 61'minutes
  • 21MagennisSubstituted forLaffertyat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2McLaughlin
  • 7McGinn
  • 9Smith
  • 10Lafferty
  • 11Washington
  • 12Mannus
  • 14Paton
  • 15McGivern
  • 17McNair
  • 20Lund
  • 22Morris
  • 23Carson
Referee:
Paolo Tagliavento
Attendance:
42,132

Match Stats

Home TeamGermanyAway TeamNorthern Ireland
Possession
Home75%
Away25%
Shots
Home25
Away4
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home9
Away3
Fouls
Home3
Away3

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Germany 2, Northern Ireland 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Germany 2, Northern Ireland 0.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Northern Ireland. Steven Davis tries a through ball, but Niall McGinn is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Germany. Conceded by Shane Ferguson.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Thomas Müller (Germany) left footed shot from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sami Khedira (Germany) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Germany. Conceded by Lee Hodson.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Northern Ireland. Corry Evans tries a through ball, but Niall McGinn is caught offside.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ilkay Gündogan (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Germany. Kevin Volland replaces Jonas Hector.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Shkodran Mustafi (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left following a corner.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Germany. Conceded by Michael McGovern.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mario Götze (Germany) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jonas Hector.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Kyle Lafferty replaces Josh Magennis.

  15. Booking

    Shane Ferguson (Northern Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Joshua Kimmich (Germany) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Shane Ferguson (Northern Ireland).

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jonas Hector.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Paddy McNair replaces Oliver Norwood.

  20. Post update

    Offside, Germany. Sami Khedira tries a through ball, but Mario Götze is caught offside.

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A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France32105147
2Sweden32105147
3Netherlands31115324
4Bulgaria3102510-53
5Belarus302125-32
6Luxembourg301246-21

B

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1Switzerland33007349
2Portugal3201122106
3Hungary31114314
4Faroe Islands311126-44
5Latvia310214-33
6Andorra300319-80

C

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1Germany33008089
2Azerbaijan32102027
3Northern Ireland31114224
4Norway310245-13
5Czech Rep302103-32
6San Marino300319-80

D

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1Serbia32108447
2R. of Ireland32106337
3Wales31207345
4Austria31116604
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6Moldova3003110-90

E

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2Poland32107527
3Romania31206155
4Denmark310234-13
5Kazakhstan302127-52
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F

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1England32103037
2Lithuania31205325
3Slovenia31203215
4Scotland31116514
5Slovakia31023213
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2Italy32107437
3Albania32014316
4Israel32015506
5North Macedonia300347-30
6Liechtenstein3003112-110

H

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1Belgium3300130139
2Greece33008179
3Bos-Herze32017436
4Estonia310247-33
5Cyprus300307-70
6Gibraltar3003114-130

I

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1Croatia32108177
2Iceland32106337
3Ukraine31206335
4Turkey302135-22
5Finland301235-21
6Kosovo3012110-91
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