Germany defeat far from a disaster

Northern Ireland players show their disappointment after the 2-0 defeat by Germany

Northern Ireland are three points behind second-placed Azerbaijan after the 2-0 defeat by Germany

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill says his side’s 2-0 Group C defeat by Germany is “far from a disaster” in terms of their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

First-half goals by Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira sealed Germany’s victory in the qualifier in Hanover.

“If we had taken anything from here it would have been a huge bonus,” he said.

“Whatever else happens I don’t see any of the other teams in the group coming here and winning.”

Germany 2-0 Northern Ireland: The match report

Draxler and Khedira struck in four first-half minutes to maintain Germany’s position at the top of the group with three wins from three matches.

“I couldn’t have asked any more of the players. I was disappointed to go behind the way we did and to lose the second goal at that point in the game,” said O’Neill.

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Players’ response was superb – Michael O’Neill

“You’re trying to contain Germany and it’s difficult then. In the last 20 minutes of the first half we had opportunities on the counter-attack and we could possibly have done a little bit better with those.

“In the second half I thought we defended well but we ran out of legs a little bit to threaten them.

“I thought we contained Germany better than we did in Paris (at Euro 2016) and Michael (McGovern) was not as busy in goal as he was in that match. Josh (Magennis) gave us a great shift for the period he was on the pitch.

Northern Ireland now lie third in the group, three points behind unbeaten Azerbaijan, who are their next opponents in Belfast on 11 November.

“We look forward to Azerbaijan and if we win that we have the incentive of going second in the group,” said the NI boss.