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

 

The 10 top pictures from Northern Ireland's victory over Azerbaijan Close

Hands up if you want to go to Russia: Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas celebrates scoring his side's goal of the game at the Tofiq Bakhramov Stadium, Baku.

Hands up if you want to go to Russia: Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas celebrates scoring his side's goal of the game at the Tofiq Bakhramov Stadium, Baku.

Tim Goode / PA Wire

This guy though: Kyle Lafferty celebrates with man of the moment Stuart Dallas.

This guy though: Kyle Lafferty celebrates with man of the moment Stuart Dallas.

William Cherry / Presseye

What about that: Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas celebrates scoring what could turn out to be a crucial goal on Northern Ireland's road to Russia

What about that: Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas celebrates scoring what could turn out to be a crucial goal on Northern Ireland's road to Russia

Tim Goode / PA

Taps aff for the Ulstermen.

Taps aff for the Ulstermen.

Tim Goode/PA Wire

This guy just looks like he's loving life in the the Tofig Bahramov Stadium.

This guy just looks like he's loving life in the the Tofig Bahramov Stadium.

©William Cherry / Presseye

Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Liam Boyce are sent sprawling by Chris Brunt's delicious delivery during Saturday night's World Cup qualifier.

Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Liam Boyce are sent sprawling by Chris Brunt's delicious delivery during Saturday night's World Cup qualifier.

©William Cherry / Presseye

If in doubt, wear a great hat.

If in doubt, wear a great hat.

©William Cherry / Presseye

Who said football fans don't get along? An Azerbaijan fan takes a picture for some members of the GAWA.

Who said football fans don't get along? An Azerbaijan fan takes a picture for some members of the GAWA.

Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Pandemonium amongst the GAWA, who were as loud as always.

Pandemonium amongst the GAWA, who were as loud as always.

©William Cherry / Presseye

Yeah, we've absolutely no idea what the palm tree's about. Answers on a postcard.

Yeah, we've absolutely no idea what the palm tree's about. Answers on a postcard.

Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Hands up if you want to go to Russia: Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas celebrates scoring his side's goal of the game at the Tofiq Bakhramov Stadium, Baku.

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."

Belfast Telegraph