Germany, England Qualify for World Cup 2018
One of the oldest sayings in sports is you've gotta play the schedule you're given.
It's a good fallback response when it seems a team just needs to simply go through the motions to get a result.
And while officially earning a spot in the World Cup finals is a good thing, some clubs expect it.
This accurately described Germany and England.
The defending champion Germans followed this script with typical precision.
Die Mannschaft disposed of Northern Ireland, 3-1, to clinch Group C, where the feisty Norn Iron were their closest pursuers:
The Z denotes that Northern Ireland still has a shot at making it to Russia by winning a knockout playoff involving the eight best runners-up.
They'll be seeded and paired after group play concludes.
England made their match closer than it should've been.
That also happens when a side figures all they've gotta do is toss their jocks on the pitch to get a result.
Then again, this is England.
When's the last time they ever did anything easily in international competition?
What's more, they clinched Group F when Scotland backed into a 1-0 victory on an own-goal by Slovakia, who was down to 10 men.
Now, those two can cruise in earnest.