Northern Ireland Through Despite Germany Defeat

Wales and Northern Ireland drew 1-1 in Cardiff in March, and O'Neill acknowledged that his players have to be ready for every eventuality when they meet Chris Coleman's team for a place in the quarter-finals.

Looking at the statistics afterwards, it was shown that Özil successfully completed 67/68 of his attempted passes during the victory, nearly 98%.

Northern Ireland's last-16 chances at Euro 2016 are hanging in the balance following a 1-0 loss to the world champions Germany which may yet see them advance.

The world champions won the game in Paris 1-0 thanks to a first-half goal from Mario Gomez, though the deficit would have been far greater but for McGovern's heroics.

"There were improvements in our play, but of course we aren't 100 percent happy".

Having Gomez up front on Tuesday, however, made a real difference, not only because he scored his fourth goal for Germany at a European Championship, which puts him one shy of Juergen Klinsmann's German record of five.

It is a mouth-watering prospect for O'Neill and his players as they prepare to face a Welsh side that topped a qualifying group that included England, Slovakia and Russian Federation to progress to the second stage.

McGovern may have to make many more saves and they might be chasing the ball again for large parts of the match but, whoever they play, one thing is for certain: they will not give up.

"Conor Washington came into the attack against Ukraine and did really well when I had imagined Kyle Lafferty would be the main threat, but Kyle has had a bit of a break and could still find his feet in this tournament".

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Readers were also fed the misinformation: "The squad is the only one in world football which fields just one player in their competitive games; Will Grigg".

"He has been excellent in the first two games as well but he took it to another level today".

"Now we'll see who we play next and, hopefully, the goals will come and we'll go a long way in this tournament".

"To win. Not to play three games and go home". We are very confident in these duels because we know our quality, and that is really something you can build the team on.

Three hours after full-time in Paris, O'Neill's team were in a state of limbo, not knowing if they would progress, if it would be confirmed on Tuesday night as they made their way back to Lyon, or following the fixtures on Wednesday.

Both players left Hummels suitably impressed.

"He has waited a lot of time for his chance and he has taken the opportuntity and performed in the manner of the likes of Tommy Wright and Pat Jennings".

The most likely outcome for Northern Ireland, should they qualify, is a meeting with hosts France.

  • Lawrence Cooper