WORLD CUP: Magennis seeking big finish for Northern Ireland

Josh Magennis celebrates finding the net for Northern Ireland against Germany. Pic by Inpho/PressEye Ltd.
Josh Magennis celebrates finding the net for Northern Ireland against Germany. Pic by Inpho/PressEye Ltd.

Although striker Josh Magennis was happy to score a consolation goal against the World Champions Germany in a 3-1 reverse, the big front man still wants to finish the qualifying campaign on a high in Oslo on Sunday.

A positive result should ensure Michael O’Neill’s side are seeded in the all important playoff draw, which would mean avoiding both Italy and Portugal.

“The seeding is what we want,” he confirmed.

“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 to the play-offs.

“We are more than confident going into Oslo despite this defeat.”

The Charlton Athletic man was delighted to have netted a stoppage time goal.

“Obviously nice to score against World Champions,” he added. “Any goal from any our players would have been great especially after we created so many chances in the second half. We deserved a goal

“In the first half we sat off them a bit and of course they scored a wonder goal after just two minutes puts your game plan out the window. Michael on the bench is sort of saying – do I go for it or do I not because the calibre of player Germany have – they can rip you apart at any time.

“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.

“I think we are now plus five goal difference so we go into Norway game with a healthy figure in that column.”

After conceding two quick fire goals to Sebastian Rudy and Sandro Wagner in the opening quarter, Magennis felt the their togetherness and work-rate had to again come to the fore.

“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,” he said.

“It wasn’t so much disappointment but more or a learning curve because you are playing against the best team in the world.

“The second half was the best performance we have produced against Germany in the three games. In Hanover we played with one upfront we got a bit of joy. At Windsor we played two up front and tried to match them. The quality they have and the positioning they take up and how they play is absolutely ridiculous.

“Michael (O’Neill) needed to switch it up at half time and he showed he’s not afraid to do that with the decision he made. We looked a much improved side in the second half and I thought Laff (Kyle Lafferty) worked up there like a workhorse. 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.

“We’ll dissect it but I think Michael is looking to take the positives more than the negatives and I think we showed our calibre at times and the fact we managed to nick a goal is good.”