Inspired Irish show delights O'Neill
Northern Ireland head coach Michael O'Neill hailed the spirit and commitment of his players after a crucial 2-0 World Cup qualifying win at home to the Czech Republic.
Goals from Jonny Evans and Chris Brunt all but assured the Irish of a play-off place for the finals in Russia next summer and also extended their record winning run to five games.
This team finds something in reserve when it’s needed.Michael O'Neill
And O'Neill was delighted by yet another strong performance from his side, who have not featured at a World Cup finals tournament since 1986.
He told Sky Sports: "If you have that spirit and commitment, you've got a chance. We are guaranteed second and seven clean sheets in eight games is a phenomenal record.
"It would have put the pressure back on if we had lost. The point was to do it tonight and keep that momentum.
"This team finds something in reserve when it’s needed. It's about scoring goals and winning games and we know how to do that.
"It's a bit of relief, the lads are on a high. We can enjoy the last two games. It's nice to face the world champions (Germany) knowing you have qualified for the next phase."
Despite O'Neill's statement, the Irish are not quite certain of a play-off spot, with one of the nine group runners-up missing out on progressing.
However, with German and Norway still to face, it would take a remarkable series of results for Northern Ireland to be eliminated.
They can now be backed at 6/1 to qualify for the World Cup finals, with the Republic of Ireland 11/8 and Wales 6/4.
View all Soccer betting