- Northern Ireland 0-2 Germany
Northern Ireland will rue missed chances after falling to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Germany in their Euro 2020 qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on Monday night.
Michael O'Neill's side put in an impressive first-half performance but couldn't get the breakthrough, while second-half goals from Marcel Halsternberg and Serge Gnabry secured victory for the Germans.
The result means Germany go top of Group C, leapfrogging Northern Ireland on goal difference.
More than 18,000 fans packed the stadium for the qualifier, which also saw captain Steven Davis become the side’s most capped outfield player.
O’Neill’s side probably had the best of the chances in the first half - including two opportunities when Conor Washington, under pressure, could not quite scramble the ball past Manuel Neuer in Germany’s net.
They were, however, perhaps a little lucky to escape not once but twice when the Germans appealed for hand-ball calls to be made against the hosts.
While Bailey Peacock-Farrell made some great saves throughout the game for Northern Ireland, unfortunately his side’s hard work in the first half was undone early into the second.
Just three minutes after the break, Marcel Halsternberg fired in a goal to break the deadlock and make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Northern Ireland were screaming for a penalty on the hour mark, when Paddy McNair went down, but the players’ appeals were waved away and Germany only continued to pile on the pressure.
Joachim Low’s men then finally got their second goal late on, when Serge Gnabry managed to beat Peacock-Farrell from a tight angle in the third minute of extra time.
Speaking after the game, O’Neill said he felt his side gave “everything they had”, particularly in that first half.
He added that he was proud of his players and that it was a huge ask for them, especially those playing their club football in the Irish Premiership, to take on one of the world’s best teams with players who ply their trade in the Bundesliga or for other top level European clubs.