Northern Ireland was the leader of Group C. With 12 points, O’Neill’s team has written history by leading a group that includes Germany and the Netherlands. It was not a surprise that the German national team was angry on the previous result and wanted to tear apart the next opponent. So, as it seems, Northern Ireland met Germany in extraordinary and challenging times.
Pre-game interviews and emotions
Before the match, O’Neill mentioned that the game would be tough. Germany was very dangerous because of previous failed game, so Northern Ireland fans and coaching staff knew that German players would do anything to win the game.
Each point played that night were very important. Northern Ireland was in the first position with 12 points but Germany had only 9 points. After a big failure during the World Cup 2018 and Nation’s League, Joachim Low still had a trust from German football federation and fans. So, Low decided to play against all the odds and go all in.
Northern Ireland 0-2 Germany
First half was a bit boring but full of tackles. As Low mentioned after the match, German players were waiting for this kind of first half. Keep in mind that Northern Ireland players have not lost an inch on stadium against Germany, but it was all in the first half – everything changed during the second 45 minutes.
During the break, Low had a serious and angry talk with players. Not winning a game in Ireland would make their life tough. So, from the first minutes of the second half, the German attacking side decided to score a goal. On the 48th minute, Halstenberg scored outside the penalty area, and Low was happy with the goal. Halstenberg’s goal gave a big mental boost to German players, and they started playing freely. In just 5 minutes after the goal, Gnabry and Kroos had two authentic moments but could not convert.
In the last 15 minutes of the game, Northern Ireland players had few real moments, but they failed. On 2nd additional minute, Gnabry used the mistake of the goalkeeper and scored second for Germany.
Estonia 0-4 Netherlands
Babel and co had a very easy away game in Estonia. Ryan Babel scored twice, and the Netherlands took three points from Estonia. After the match, Koeman was happy with results and talked about chances for Euro 2020. As it seems, Germany and the Netherlands still have an opportunity to top Group C.
Koeman’s team has a very tough away game in Ireland in October 2019. That game can decide the winner of the group.