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Before a ball has even been kicked in Norway, Northern Ireland are now assured of play-off place

Michael O’Neill’s side now don’t require anything from this evening’s clash in Oslo.

Image: Brian Lawless

SCOTLAND’S 2-2 DRAW with Slovenia did a huge favour to the Republic of Ireland but it also ensured Northern Ireland’s place in the World Cup play-offs.

Michael O’Neill’s side are in action tonight against Norway and were already assured of second place in Group C but, because of the various mechanics, were still waiting on confirmation of reaching the play-offs.

With the Scots coming up short in their quest to make the next stage of qualification, it means O’Neill’s men are through and will most likely be unseeded for the draw, which will be held on 17 October in Zurich.

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