Football: Norway loss means Northern Ireland will not be seeded for the World Cup play-offs

Chris Brunt of Northern Ireland (2nd left) scores an own goal during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification match in Oslo, Norway, on Oct 8, 2017.
Chris Brunt of Northern Ireland (2nd left) scores an own goal during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification match in Oslo, Norway, on Oct 8, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

(REUTERS) - An own goal by Chris Brunt put paid to Northern Ireland's chances of being among the seeded second-placed teams in the World Cup play-offs, after they lost their final Group C qualifier 1-0 to Norway.

Scotland's draw with Slovenia earlier on Sunday allowed Slovakia to take a play-off berth, and Northern Ireland's superior record meant that their spot was also secured before a ball was kicked in Oslo.

The home side were looking to end their campaign on a positive note, and a looping high ball from captain Stefan Johansen in the 71st minute forced Brunt's error as he tried to clear the ball from under the crossbar.

The Northern Irish, currently ranked fifth out of the eight play-off teams with the top four being seeded, played plenty of tidy football but despite some late chances, the game slipped away.