Northern Ireland Beats Russia 1-0 in World Cup Soccer Qualifying

Northern Ireland beat Russia 1-0 in a qualifying match for next year’s soccer World Cup to end a 13-game winless run.

Martin Paterson’s header at the end of the first half in Belfast last night gave Northern Ireland its first victory since August 2011, when it beat Faroe Islands in qualifying for last year’s European Championship.

The win lifted Northern Ireland into fourth place in its six-team qualifying group with six points. Russia remains two points behind Group F leader Portugal, which has 14 points through seven of 10 matches. The Russians have played six games.

The winners of each of the nine European groups advance to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with the best eight runners-up going into playoffs for the remaining four slots.

Last night’s match, the only World Cup qualifier to be played yesterday, was originally scheduled for March 22, though was postponed by snow in Belfast.

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