King ruled out of Norway squad to face Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland at Windsor Park

Northern Ireland at Windsor Park

Michael O'Neill will risk having key players banned for a World Cup play-off should Northern Ireland need a result in Norway to seal their place.

And now we have the Northern Ireland side, presented in a much more impressive format than that of their opponents.

In their final group games, Northern Ireland travel to Norway while the Germans host Azerbaijan.

Rudy's stunning opener was crucial against a Northern Ireland side who had not conceded a goal in qualifying since losing the reverse fixture 2-0 in Hannover last October. "3-0 would have been harsh, we deserved the goal in the end, but it was very hard". Equally, we can't allow ourselves to field an inexperienced team and be beaten and then suddenly lose out on goal difference. We'd like to get to 20 points but it would be fantastic to get to 22.

'We are second and that won't change, whatever happens on Sunday.

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The coach said that he had absolute confidence in not just his players but their management because they were on top of the cracker between the two countries.

"In September 2016 we looked at our group and told ourselves we wanted to dominate that group, make no compromises and possibly not drop any points either, which we've managed to do with a neat goal average to boot". What matters is where we are in the group of second-place teams.

"This was a bonus game for us, it could have gone to 4-0 or 5-0 but we kept out goal difference in a healthy state", said Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill.

The group winners qualify directly for Russian Federation along with four winners of the playoffs which involve the eight best runners-up.

"We got up to the ball better in the second half". In Hanover we played with one upfront we got a bit of joy.

A great ball in from the right by Magennis fell to Corry Evans who was fortunate to get a second chance after a poor first touch but could only poke an effort which took a deflection off Marc Andre ter Stegen for a corner.

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Other results going their way over the next couple of days could also help.

Having created just one chance in the opening period, Northern Ireland stirred after the interval and created several openings, the most notable of which saw Conor Washington strike the woodwork.

Fourth in Group C and 17 points behind leaders Germany, Norway have no chance of making next year's finals in Russian Federation, but they hammered San Marino on Thursday with King grabbing two goals before being substituted in the 62nd minute.

Asked if he thought he'd ever scored a better goal, Rudy said: "I don't think so".

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