Belfast Telegraph

Now let's finish with a flourish and secure a seeded play-off spot: Magennis

World champions were too good but we can still take charge of our own destiny and qualify for Russia in style, insists goal hero Josh

By Paul Ferguson

Northern Ireland's World Cup destiny is still in our own hands despite last night's masterclass handed down by reigning champions Germany in their emphatic 3-1 Windsor Park victory.

But last minute consolation goalscorer Josh Magennis insisted Michael O'Neill's men can hand out their own lesson to Norway in Sunday's crucial closing group game in Oslo, making sure they qualify for next month's World Cup play-offs in style.

Germany sealed top spot in Group C and a place at next summer's finals in Russia but Northern Ireland, already confirmed in second position behind Joachim Low's men, are still well placed on 19 points to make the two-leg play-offs and could even secure their spot ahead of the Norway game if results across Europe go their way over the next two nights.

But Magennis, who scored Northern Ireland's goal in added time last night, says the men in green are determined to control their own destiny.

He said: "We are more than confident going to Oslo despite this defeat.

"Losing to Germany wasn't so much a disappointment but more of a learning curve because we were playing against the best team in the world. It was important after we went two down in the second half that we didn't capitulate because goal difference could play a huge part in making sure we reach the play-offs. We are now on plus five goal difference so we go into the Norway game with a healthy figure in that column."

“This country, especially during the last two campaigns, is used to winning and we are looking forward going to Norway and finishing this campaign with a victory. The second half show against Germany will give us the confidence to produce a performance on Sunday that will claim the win.”

Northern Ireland, currently ranked 20th in the world, could also ensure they are seeded for the play-offs if they beat Norway — which would mean they could avoid European heavyweights such as Italy and Portugal.

MARK MARLOW 05/11/2017. World cup qualifier for Russia 2018. Northern Ireland vs Germany at The National football stadium at windsor Park in Belfast. Pictured is Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrating a goal during tonights game in Belfast. Picture Mark Marlow
MARK MARLOW 05/11/2017. World cup qualifier for Russia 2018. Northern Ireland vs Germany at The National football stadium at windsor Park in Belfast. Pictured is Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrating a goal during tonights game in Belfast. Picture Mark Marlow
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans brings the ball away after challenging Germany's Sebastian Rudy (floor) for the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Germany's Thomas Muller (centre) heads at goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland.Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Germany's Sebastian Rudy (left) battle for the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington with Germany's Jerome Boateng during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Germany's Joshua Kimmich celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game with his team-mates during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland.Niall Carson/PA Wire.
NI
MARK MARLOW 05/11/2017. World cup qualifier Northern Ireland vs Germany at The National football stadium at windsor Park in Belfast. Pictured is Germanys Joshua Kimmich celebrating a goal during tonights game in Belfast. Picture Mark Marlow
Northern Ireland Josh Magennis and Germany Mats Hummels during Thursday night's FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group C Qualifier at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Germany's Leon Goretzka in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington and Germany's Matts Hummells and Jerome Boateng in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas and Germany's Joshua Kimmich in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans (left) and Germany's Julian Draxler battle for the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland.Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern IrelandÕs Josh Magennis during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C N Ireland during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans with Germany's Mats Hummels during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
October 5th 2017 - FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Group C Northern Ireland V Germany - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt.
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern IrelandÕs Michael McGovern as GermanyÕs Sandro Wagner makes it 2-0 during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 05th October 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Conor McLaughlin with Germany's Sandro Wagner during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Pacemaker Belfast 5-10-17 Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Germany's Mats Hummels during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland Manager Michael OÕNeill during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland Manager Michael OÕNeill during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C.
Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Germany's Jerome Boateng during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Germany's Mats Hummels during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Lee Hodson and Germany's Leon Goretzka in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Pacemaker Belfast 5-10-17 Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Germany's Sebastian Rudy scores his goal during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley goes up for a cross in the Germany box. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis with Germany's Joshua Kimmich. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. Germany team line out Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. The teams line out Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Magennis stresses that is a huge motivation for O’Neill’s men.

 The Charlton striker added: “The seeding is what we want. To be seeded wouldn’t give us an easier game but we could go into the game on the front foot because we have been recognised as one of the top four teams out of eight in the play-offs.

“Obviously with the ranking we have, we are in a good position but hopefully if we get the good result we desperately want in Oslo then we should have a great chance of claiming a seeding.

“It’s so important because we could miss some of the big hitters and with us being so resilient away from home and strong at Windsor, with the fantastic fans behind us, we should have a big chance — if we make  the play-offs.”

On last night’s showdown with Germany, Magennis added: “Obvioiusly it was nice to score against the World champions. Any goal from any our players would have been great, especially after we created so many chances in the second half.

“Michael needed to switch it up at half time and he showed he’s not afraid to do that with the decisions he made. We looked a much improved side in the second half and I thought Kyle Lafferty worked up there like a trojan. We knew if we were going to get anything out of the game we would have to put everything into it and every player is absolutely knackered. But you have to give your all when playing a side of the quality of Germany.”

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