Chris Brunt says Northern Ireland have an uphill task to reach the World Cup

Chris Brunt: Midfielder admits Northern Ireland have a mountain to climb to qualify for the 2014 World Cup

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Chris Brunt says Northern Ireland now have a 'mountain to climb' to reach the 2014 World Cup after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Luxembourg.

Northern Ireland's campaign had started with a 2-0 defeat in Russia last Friday, but Michael O'Neill's side were expected to claim a first win against Luxembourg on Tuesday night.

Dean Shiels gave the hosts the lead on 14 minutes, but three goals were then disallowed and Brunt struck the post before Luxembourg scored a fortunate late equaliser.

With Portugal up next, qualification for Brazil is already looking unlikely and West Brom winger Brunt was left to reflect on the missed opportunities against Luxembourg.

"We are disappointed we didn't see the game out and that's down to complacency," said Brunt.

"Luxembourg had confidence and worked hard but it was a pretty lucky goal towards the end of the second half and it went against the run of play.

"It will be an uphill battle now. We didn't do ourselves any harm against Russia, which was always going to be difficult, but now we have a mountain to climb in the next few qualifiers.

"We were dangerous from set plays and had chances, so it's easy to say it was one of those nights but we didn't take our chances."

Brunt's West Brom team-mate Gareth McAuley will miss the trip to Portugal next month after being booked for the second game in a row, and O'Neill is disappointed to have lost the defender's services.

The Northern Ireland coach said: "That's disappointing. It was a very soft yellow card, very little in it at all.

"As a result of that we miss Gareth with two bookings. I thought he was excellent for us out in Moscow so it's a big blow because when you go to the likes of Portugal you need your big players.

"Gareth is one of our big players and a mainstay of the back four."