Defending champions Germany confirmed their qualification for next year’s World Cup in Russia by beating Northern Ireland 3-1 in Belfast. Sebastian Rudy shot into the top corner in the second minute, Sandro Wagner rifled home from the edge of the area, and Joshua Kimmich drove in late on. Josh Magennis headed Northern Ireland’s goal in stoppage time. Germany progress as group winners but Northern Ireland remain well placed to make November’s play-offs. Michael O’Neill’s men complete their Group C campaign in Norway on Sunday, aiming to finish among the best eight of the nine group runners-up. They will follow results elsewhere over the next two days but, as it stands, they may need a point in Oslo to make sure of reaching the play-offs, the draw for which takes place on 17 October. According to BBC, of the eight teams, the highest four in the Fifa rankings which will be published on 16 October – Northern Ireland are currently 20th – will be seeded for the play-offs.