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Now we're really flying: Dallas strike could be defining moment in Northern Ireland's World Cup campaign

 

By Paul Ferguson

High flying Northern Ireland have a date with World Cup destiny this September after Stuart Dallas' dramatic injury time winner against Azerbaijan on Saturday night in Baku placed Russia on the radar.

Michael O'Neill's men are now just two games away from securing second place in Group C, behind runaway leaders Germany, and a likely play-off spot which would give them a crack at reaching the finals in Russia next year for the first time since Mexico 1986.

Northern Ireland have opened up a four point lead over third placed Czech Republic with four games to go in the campaign after the Czechs could only draw with Norway in Oslo on Saturday night.

A Northern Ireland win in San Marino on September 1 and a Czech loss to Germany on the same night, will mean a point from the Windsor clash with Czechs three days later will secure second place. Even if the Czechs shock Germany, two Northern Ireland wins would be enough.

Defender Jonny Evans, who played the perfect pass to Dallas for the dramatic winning goal in Baku, cautioned: "It's definitely not over. We know we have got a lot of work to do but the most important thing now is that we have gone into our summer break with a win."

Full story: Dallas strike could be defining moment in NI's campaign

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