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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Sebastian Rudy says Germany are 'going to Russia to win' World Cup

Germany will defend their World Cup crown after comfortably defeating Northern Ireland 3-1 in Belfast.
Sebastian Rudy opened the scoring with a world-class strike as Germany confirmed their place at Russia 2018 with a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland.
Joachim Low says Germany must bring the enjoyment back to football in the country.

Sebastian Rudy set his sights on winning the World Cup after Germany beat Northern Ireland 3-1 on Thursday to seal their qualification to next summer's tournament in Russia.

"We're going to Russia to win something," the midfielder said after scoring the opening goal. "We want to defend the title."

Rudy's long-range strike had Germany ahead inside two minutes in Belfast before Sandro Wagner added a second goal in the 21st minute and Joshua Kimmich got in on the action before Josh Magennis' late consolation for the hosts.

"The goal was extremely important," Rudy said of his strike. "We dominated the match the whole time."

Asked if he thought he'd ever scored a better goal, Rudy said: "I don't think so."

Germany boss Joachim Low said he was pleased that his team saw out the victory comfortably, unlike Germany's previous away game last month, when Mats Hummels' 88th-minute winner was needed after a Czech Republic equaliser.

"​I am satisfied," Low said. "We doubled the lead very quickly. In the Czech Republic we took the lead early too but then lost control. That did not happen today.

Sebastian Rudy
Sebastian Rudy and Germany have secured their spot in the World Cup.

"We felt on the pitch that we had everything under control in the second half. That's when we slowed down a little bit."

Low was also complimentary of Northern Ireland, who he faced three times over the past 16 months and are still in contention for a UEFA playoff spot.

"Northern Ireland have a population of just under 2 million and they were absolutely competitive in our group," Low said. "There has been hardly any gap [in the group] between them and us.

"Of course it will be tremendously difficult to beat a team like Portugal or Italy over two games, but they can do it."

Low also chimed in on the biggest topic of conversation in German football, giving his approval to Bayern Munich's plans to hire re-hire Jupp Heynckes.

"He's an incredibly experienced coach, who of course has a lot of charisma," Low told RTL. "In the situation Bayern are in, this is a very good solution."

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