- *Germany and England secured qualification to next year’s World Cup *
- *Both recorded wins on Thursday to top respective groups *
- Nine teams outside the hosts have now booked their Russia 2018 berths
World champions Germany and 1966 winners England booked their places at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Russia after recording respective victories on Thursday. Joachim Low’s side, who continued their staggering record of having never lost an away game in World Cup qualifying, assured themselves of top spot in Group C with a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland, while Harry Kane bagged a dramatic injury-time winner for the Three Lions against Slovenia at Wembley in Group F.
In Belfast, Sebastian Rudy opened the scoring with a sensational strike on two minutes, before Sandro Wagner doubled the advantage shortly after the 20-minute mark. Joshua Kimmich then added a third on 86 minutes, while Josh Magennis grabbed an injury-time consolation for the hosts. The win means Die Mannschaft continue their 100 per cent record in World Cup qualifying, with nine wins out of nine going into their final Group C game on 8 October.
At Wembley, meanwhile, Harry Kane continued England's trend of scoring late, late goals. Three strikes after the 90th minute have garnered England five points in this qualifying campaign: against Slovakia in the team's opening fixture, against Scotland at Hampden Park and tonight at Wembley. Kane's latest strike ensured England reached their sixth consecutive finals, matching their record run of World Cup appearances from 1950-1970, which included their victorious 1966 campaign on home soil.
For the Germans, Russia 2018 will mark their 19th World Cup appearance, a number only bettered by Brazil (21 appearances, including 2018). In booking their places at next year's finals, England and Germany join hosts Russia, along with Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia, all of whom were already assured of their spots before today.