Northern Ireland vs. Russia, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Final score 1-0 in stunning upset

Alex Livesey

Russia looked unprepared for a tough competitive match, as Northern Ireland outplayed them en route to a well-deserved victory in this international date's only World Cup qualifier.

Portugal have been given an absolutely massive boost in their campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup by Northern Ireland, who turned in a surprising performance on Wednesday. Russia were abysmal, failing to register a shot on target in Northern Ireland's 1-0 win. This result solidifies Portugal's place at the top of Group F, keeps Northern Ireland's faint hopes of making a playoff alive and puts Israel in control of their own destiny.

The hosts took advantage of a lethargic Russia side at the end of a dull first half, putting together an impressive direct attack to score the game's only goal. Just two minutes after Jamie Ward hit the post from the edge of the box, Northern Ireland surged forward again and found a goal through Martin Paterson. He got on the end of a cross by Niall McGinn, who won a physical battle on the right flank just to get the ball in, and Paterson outmuscled his defender to nod the ball into the back of the net.

Paterson nearly doubled his team's lead in the 58th minute on a set piece when he poked home from six yards, but he was a step past the last defender and his goal was disallowed for offside. Remarkably, that was the biggest event of the second half. Roy Carroll was never bothered in the Northern Ireland net.

Follow @SBNationSoccer on TwitterLike SB Nation Soccer on Facebook

More in Soccer:

Fun with international friendlies: Previews and live coverage

Previewing the Europa League race in La Liga

20 Serie A previews in 20 days

Transfer rumours from SB Nation and our team blogs

Full coverage of the NWSL

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.