BELFAST, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Germany qualified for the World Cup in style on Thursday when superb early strikes from Sebastian Rudy and Sandro Wagner set them on the way to a 3-1 win away to Northern Ireland.
Rudy blasted an unstoppable shot past Michael McGovern after two minutes and Wagner scored with an emphatic effort in the 21st as the world champions clocked up their ninth successive win in Group C to move on to 27 points.
Germany were forced on to the back foot in the second half and Conor Washington clipped the crossbar with the goal at his mercy, although it was the visitors who scored again through Joshua Kimmich in the 86th minute.
Josh Maggenis scored in stoppage time for Northern Ireland, who have 19 points from nine games and had already made sure of a two-top finish before the match. However, they are still not certain of finishing as one of the eight best runners-up up in the nine European groups.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Ed Osmond