STUTTGART, Germany, Sept 4 (Reuters) - World champions Germany thrashed Norway 6-0 in their Group C match on Monday, scoring four times in the first half, to edge closer to a place at next year’s World Cup in Russia.
The Germans killed off the game in a whirlwind first half, scoring three times in the opening 21 minutes, and can wrap up qualification away to second-placed Northern Ireland, who beat the Czech Republic 2-0, on Oct. 5.
Four-time world champions Germany need one point from their remaining two fixtures -- in Belfast and three days later at home to Azerbaijan -- to book their ticket to Russia.
Northern Ireland are five points behind the Germans, who have a maximum 24. The group winners qualify directly for the finals while the eight best second-placed teams in the nine groups go into a playoff round. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)