Euro 2016: Northern Ireland through to last 16

Despite losing to world champions Germany earlier today, Northern Ireland’s footballers have secured a place in the last 16 of the UEFA European Championship 2016.  There they’ll face either France or Wales.

A heroic performance by NI’s freelance keeper, Michael McGovern, kept the ball out of the net on all but one occasion and the 1-0 win for Germany left Northern Ireland in third place in Group C on 3 points following their win over Ukraine.  Crucially, though, they had a zero goal difference.

The best 4 third placed teams in the 6 groups progress to the last 16, along with the first and second placed in each.

Slovakia, on 4 points, already had one of the third placed berths.

Albania, also on 3 points, have a goal difference of -2 and are still in the hunt.  But sit below Northern Ireland in the pecking order for the third placed slots.

Tonight, Turkey’s 2-0 win over the Czech Republic leaves Turkey on 3 points too.  But having only scored twice tonight, their goal difference is only -2, guaranteeing Northern Ireland one of the remaining ‘best runner-up’ places.

Currently on 1 point from 2 matches, the Republic of Ireland will need to beat Italy tomorrow to join Northern Ireland, et al, in the knock-out stages.

Update  The Republic of Ireland secure a 1-0 victory over Italy with a 84th minute header from Robbie Brady to progress with Northern Ireland into the last 16.

Northern Ireland will now play Wales in the next round, and the Republic of Ireland will play tournament hosts France.

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  • Alan N/Ards

    Well done to the republic!

  • John Collins

    BOD is most certainly not a Protestant

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I friggin’ well left the pub before all the hullaballoo….

  • NotNowJohnny

    Goalkeeping is all part of the game. You do realise that if it wasn’t for the German goal it would have been a draw.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Normally I would have been of a slightly negative disposition to the southern team on account of hoping that a tragic run might herd some disillusioned supporters to NI, but I have to state that the sheer goodwill from the South’s supporters has caused me to reflect on my stance and make me slightly ashamed.

    So, hat’s of to ye’all and thanks for all the fish, I mean ‘well done too’. (Stupid Douglas Adams, gets in everywhere…)

    PS: I really hope we don’t face each other in the final on the 10th of July, Jeez…

  • NotNowJohnny

    Remember the man responsible for the team which took four points of the Germans was a former Northern Ireland international. It is surely a marvellous thing that two of the managers in the last 16 were born in and played for Northern Ireland.

  • kensei

    Worse you say?

  • Jollyraj

    From his comments earlier, he is angry that he himself wasn’t selected 🙂

  • Jollyraj

    I’d always thought he was. Put his neatness of play down to it 🙂

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Yea of Little Faith. Well Done and great to see both parts of Ireland in the last 16. Would also be great if the South could get revenge on France and put them out on their own soil for the Hand of Frog Incident !

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I know, brilliant!!! Well done the Republic!! Means we face Wales so has done us a massive favour. We now have half a chance … I have tickets for the quarters if we make it, so I may even owe our southern neighbours a pint or two. Go Ireland!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen 🙁

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Me too. And the Republic have done us a massive favour in getting us out of playing France and getting Wales instead. Battle of Britain, it’s going to be epic!!!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’d just like to note that for once my prescience on these matters was recorded in writing. And yours Mick! Fantastic for the South, well done them!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It’s not a fact, plenty of C/N/R people support NI, it would seem. He’s making division there where there needn’t be any.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It wasn’t gloating, it was dismissing the small-minded anti-NI sentiment you expressed and encouraging more generosity and positivity.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I don’t think you get it – we are an underdog team, one of the ultimate underdog teams. That’s part of the joy of following NI and it makes the pleasure all the greater when we do have our wee successes. We’re not Brazil, we’re Northern Ireland, as the song goes …

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I don’t think so – we are in different halves of the draw. If we beat Wales, we’ll get Hungary or Belgium in the quarters.

  • DOUG

    Funny old game…

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It won’t happen but dare to dream and all that … a semi-final is not actually beyond us. We are certainly capable of beating Wales … Belgium are a class apart if they get it right but if it’s Hungary, we beat them in qualifying … Who would have thought we could be presented with Wales and Hungary, potentially, to get past for a place in the semi-finals! It’s not impossible is all I’m saying, not by a long chalk.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Just nasty. No one needs that kind of thing in football or in life. Most of us have had enough of the petty hatreds but look if you’re determined to stew in your own juices I won’t stop you. Just keep the bile to yourself.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Tell you what, why don’t you ask the Republic’s manager Martin O’Neill what he think of supporting Northern Ireland? Or what about Neil Lennon, the very person who received those awful death threats back in the 90s, as well as fantastic support afterwards from the mass of NI fans – he’s cheering us on as much as anyone.

    Even arch-Prod-basher Jude Collins, ffs, has written that he supports the NI team – and that was while explaining why he has issues with Windsor Park, GSTQ etc (both things I and many NI fans also want to change) and prefers the Republic.

    An Irish Times article on this summarised the situation as:
    “While there is significant cross-community support for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland teams, their respective fans are largely drawn from one section of the community.”
    http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/soccer/international/why-are-the-same-fans-not-celebrating-both-irish-victories-1.2385859
    That seems about accurate. My point was that despite there being a divide on this these days, it’s not as black and white as some are making out here. There is “significant cross community support” for Northern Ireland. You were suggesting there wasn’t.

  • kensei

    That’s a song about being crap, never understood it. You can be an underdog without having a small team mentality.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    it’s a song that sums up a lot about being from Northern Ireland.

    Actually I think you’ve uncovered an interesting area of Catholic-Protestant misunderstanding perhaps. Talking as a Prod here, when we see ourselves portrayed by some Catholics as swaggering, arrogant and superior, it doesn’t really fit with how we feel about ourselves – we very much feel underdogs. We’re back to ATQ’s “double minority” situation, we can act like a minority and a majority at the same time – and so do Catholics.

  • Skibo

    There it is in a bubble. People wonder what religion the players for NI are yet I have never heard anyone ask what religion the players for Ireland are. Their religion does not matter. Their playing ability does.
    I can support both teams but it does not follow on that the acceptance of an NI team is an acceptance of NI as a country.
    Their dogged mentality on holding onto the GSTQ anthem and flying of the Union Jack will always turn me off.
    Why the Union Jack? It’s plastered all over the place in the stadium. It is not the flag of NI.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Haha! Are you serious? “People wonder what religion the players for NI are yet I have never heard anyone ask what religion the players for Ireland are …”
    Could it be because everyone would assume they’re all Catholic? Jesus wept.
    And as I’ve said, many are up for changing anthem and flag for NI games, myself included. But in the meantime, to be fair, GSTQ is the official anthem and the union flag is the official flag.

    Actually there are only a few union jacks among fans, it’s mainly NI flags. And yes I know technically it’s not the official NI flag but there isn’t another one yet. It’s also what FIFA, UEFA, Commonwealth Games etc use for us and what most people see as the NI flag. And I don’t see the Republic abandoning its flag despite its use by the IRA during the Troubles here, nor would I expect them to. Flags can mean positive things for people as well as negative and you can’t let the bad guys own the flag. To most people who use it, the NI flag is not meant as a sectarian flag or a Protestant flag or anything of the sort, it’s the Northern Ireland flag. If you wanted to, you could recognise the truth of that too and maybe be less offended by it. No offence is meant.

  • Mirrorballman

    “there is nothing Irish about them”

    Except the 11 Irish men wearing their jersey or the fact their name is Northern Ireland or their support coming from Irish people living in Northern Ireland. Definitely nothing Irish about them….

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The response to the Lennon incident was nothing short of magnificent, the fans won a European fan award for it – what are you talking about …
    You cite something that happened to Martin O’Neill (presumably in the mid 70s) as if it’s typical. It simply isn’t and Martin O’Neill himself would be the first to say that, and how fantastic the support is for Northern Ireland. That shouldn’t have happened; and if that happened today, there would be quite rightly an outcry and the so-called ‘supporter’ would be banned.

    Northern Ireland, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a deeply ethnically divided place and the divide is often bitter. That would be the case whether in the UK or in a united Ireland, it is the nature of our demographics. The Northern Ireland football team has to operate in that environment.

    What sickens me, frankly, is that you have seem to have no interest in making Northern Ireland work and no interest building something shared across the two communities. That’s an easy attitude to have – people from either side (and I’ve met a lot of Prods like this too) will always be able to point at any joint endeavour with the other community in NI and say ‘look at that mess, what a joke, what’s the point trying’. They can return to the comfort and unchallenged certainties of their own tribe. They can give up on the idea of any kind of shared society – easy. And not getting your hands dirty in the real business of trying to build bridges, you can look on from the outside and mock. But the people that need mocking are the quitters and the cynics.

    For some of us in the centre ground, things like the GAWA phenomenon offer a ray of hope that both ‘communities’ in NI can have more of a shared society together, where we at least try and do some good things together. Is that so silly or wrong?

  • Skibo

    Actually until you raised it, I never heard anyone asking what religion any ROI players were. Are they all Catholic?
    For you to say the main flags flown are Ulster flags must have been watching a different game to me. There were Union Flags all over the place with place names on them.

    “Many are up for changing the anthem and the flag” unless they are asked outside Windsor Park and you will get a different answer there.
    “To most people who use it, the NI flag is not meant as a sectarian flag or a Protestant flag or anything of the sort, it’s the Northern Ireland flag.” I suppose you could say the same thing to KKK, sure its only a white hood, how could anyone see it as negative? Sure doesn’t white stand for innocent purity cleanliness virginity!
    If you think the Northern Ireland flag and the GSTQ is not looked on as Protestant then you have led a sheltered life and never visited too many nationalist areas.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    they don’t sound the worst of chants, tbh … quite funny … yes, I’d love a link.

    But look, my point with any picking on the support of any team or country is, in the tens of thousands of fans, you’ll always find someone or some group of people behaving badly. You can do it to Liverpool, Barcelona, Rangers, Celtic, United, any of them. You either choose to write all fans off on that basis or you apply common sense and realise most of the team’s fans aren’t doing that or approving of it. A few years ago some Republic fans got on their high horse about some NI fans singing Loyalist songs. They had a point as regards those individuals, but it also only took 5 minutes to uncover footage of Republic fans singing an IRA song.

    We can choose to write off all fans on that basis or we can realise the idiots are generally not the majority.

    The GAWA have created an amazing impression in France: https://www.facebook.com/ourweetees/photos/pcb.630840630430112/630837563763752/?type=3&theater
    The link isn’t great but there are HUNDREDS of these messages from the French public after the German game. They were blown away. Might you be missing something, or are the French fans who tweeted here somehow blind to some hidden evil only you can see?

  • Skibo

    “What sickens me, frankly, is that you have seem to have no interest in making Northern Ireland work”
    Correct and I don’t hide the fact either. Its not that I don’t want to make it work, IT ISN’T WORKING. If it was a business, it would be sold to the ROI for a pound! A loss making venture that has not been making money since the late 1930s.

    ” no interest building something shared across the two communities”
    Not true. I want to see the two communities come together in recognition that we share this island with the ROI and our future interests lie in that direction.

  • Skibo

    The one thing you will have problems with is Europe looks on the GAWA and the COYBIG and the same thing. Sure arn’t we all Irish!

  • Skibo

    Lad if you are a tax payer in the North then you employ the Queen and you pay for her servants. Of course she can be a good employer, sure isn’t someone else picking up the bill.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You’re really comparing the NI flag to a KKK hood? Good Lord, what planet are we on …
    I wasn’t suggesting many nationalists don’t see the NI flag as a Protestant thing. I was saying it wasn’t intended that way by a lot of Protestants, who see it as a Northern Ireland thing and aren’t trying to exclude anyone. That should be taken into account by nationalists when they see people flying the flag (and btw Rory McIlroy was happy to be seen with it). It’s not exactly the swastika, is it?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    at least you’re open about wanting NI to fail unless you get your way. In the meantime you apparently have nothing positive to offer and seem happy for the place to go to hell. Nice.

  • Skibo

    MU this may come to a surprise to you but many Nationalists I know would have the same disdain for both.
    I like Rory as a golfer but I don’t hold him up as a representative of the Nationalist community. I knew he would find a way out of representing Ireland at the Olympics. A couple of paracetamol and lots of water would have kept him safe.
    Easier stepping back and not having to represent the Tricolour.
    Guess we will not see him at the match on Sunday either.

  • Skibo

    You are not listening MU, it is a failure. It has been a failure since the late 1930s. It will continue to be a failure.
    If the British Army can get enough cannon fodder elsewhere they wont need us either.

  • John Collins

    I do not care what religion he is no more than I cared that the other great Irish centre Mike Gibson was in all probability a Protestant. Like most people in this island I will applaud either team in green unless its ROI v NI. I only commented because the comment that BOD was a Protestant was so blatantly untrue it had to be contradicted.

  • Redstar

    At the end of the day both teams got through.

    Each team represents a different community in the North( despite some trying to pretend that Nats have suddenly decided to pour out of the Murph adorned in Ulster ” flegs” as they make their way to Windsor!- all a bit absurd/ desperate .

    The Unionist communities NI have been amazing and qualified, Ireland for our community have ( despite my terrible lack of faith!!!) did likewise.

    Let’s stop being daft and pretending apples are oranges – VERY BEST WISHES TO BOTH TEAMS AND THE COMMUNITIES THEY REPRESENT

    PS bit daft to start arguing over what might happen if we meet -as France and Wales are going to be very tough

  • Redstar

    That’s a fact and great point
    Lest we forget Sky Sports ” fleg’ for the NI team- oops!!!

  • Redstar

    I was going to say you just don’t get it- but actually you do. Your talk of trying to meet in the centre ground is blown out of the water for example with your support for divisive issues like OO fascist parades etc. Centre ground, yeah right

    Secondly you don’t get it – or let on not to- when it comes to support for this sectarian statelet. Most in the Nat / Rep community- uncle toms aside- simply do not agree or support the statelet. They may put up with it to varying extents, for now but simply put their heart isn’t and never will be in it

    That may upset you, annoy you frustrate you, but hey get over it. Many of us do indeed legitimately want to see an end to this statelet and in the interim simply won’t be enthusiastic about its existence

  • Skibo

    I will keep shouting for Michaels’ boys though but please don’t read into it that I accept the legitimacy or stability of NI like so many of my fellow Nationalists.

  • Ulsterman

    So I presume you when you want to “put an end to this statelet” you want to take away my British identity? I assume you also think unionists like myself are going to wake up some morning and say right ” time to become Irish and time to through away our birthright” Got news for you – it ain’t happening my friend.

  • NotNowJohnny

    If you can’t see how Mr O’Neill can call himself an Irishman then I suggest that there is something seriously wrong with your vision. Perhaps you don’t see the Great O’Neill as an Irishman either because he accepted the title Earl of Tyrone. Or Gerry Fitt as he also accepted elevation to the British House of Lords Perhaps you don’t see Edward Carson as an Irishman because he was against home rule. Perhaps you dont see De Valera as an Irishman because he took the oath of allegiance to a British King. What is your definition of an Irishman anyway?

  • Skibo

    Nobody is saying that. Your British identity is something within YOU. If you feel entering a all Ireland state will do away with your Britishness then it isn’t very strong. I spent 8 years in London. It didn’t turn me into a Londoner.
    We are not demanding you become Irish with an Irish identity.
    I expect when it eventually happens there will be legislation allowing people born within the 6 counties will be able to apply for a British passport.
    Your Britishness is something you will have to decide on. Nobody can take that away.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Support for fascist parades? Who do you think I am, Sean Russell?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    well I am a Frankie Boyle fan, I’m not averse to a bit of black humour. Each to his own. Very happy indeed to be ‘done here’, over and out.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    http://res.cloudinary.com/jpress/image/fetch/w_620,f_auto,ar_3:2,c_fill/http://www.newsletter.co.uk/webimage/1.7427656.1465814495!/image/image.jpg
    Here’s a picture of a large section of the fans. The main thing that would strike someone looking at this, overwhelmingly, would be the mass of green. Not the most loyalist colour in the world. Then you might notice the NI flags and individual banners like the Portstewart one. Then you might spot a couple of union flags in there. I’m sure you did see some others too, but could this be a case of you seeing what you want to see? Not that there is anything wrong with the odd union jack anyway, it’s not the swastika, it’s the UK flag and we all now fully accept NI is legitimately part of the UK. Nothing to get offended about there unless you really want to be offended.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think the NI fans win on self-awareness, irony and not taking themselves too seriously anyway 🙂 Some people warm to that, but each to their own.

  • Skibo

    The Union flag is as much the flag of NI as the EU flag is. The Butchers apron, well named.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    it’s the flag of the country we all agree N Ireland is properly part of, at least until nationalism manages to persuade NI inhabitants otherwise. You can insult it all you like; such insults don’t sit very well with nationalism’s commitment to accept the Britishness of people who so identify in NI. How accepting is it to call our national flag a “butcher’s apron”?

    And the gall of that after Irish nationalism’s record over the last 50 years …

  • Skibo

    Republicans learned from their masters. The British brought slavery,domination and massacres to half the world. It didn’t get the nick name the butchers apron for nothing.
    And Unionism would accuse Republicans of rewriting history!
    As for what was agreed, Parity of esteem, the Tricolour should be recognised as the flag of 45% of the community.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    and the tricolour has never had any foul deeds committed in its name? Perhaps you missed the last 30 years of the last century but I didn’t.

  • Skibo

    You are right, alot of foul deeds were done in the name of independence of Ireland for the Irish.
    The foul deeds carried out in the name of the Union flag were done in other countries, most of which was carried out in a plan of world domination. Hardly the same.
    Had the UK been invaded, I expect the response of the British would have been the same to repel invaders.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    but what about repelling not ‘invaders’ but fellow Ulster people? That’s what Republicans did. Not to mention that the ‘invaders’ were actually the legitimate national forces of the country of which N Ireland is a part – and which even SF recognised in the GFA is rightly a part. A Scots, English or Welsh person in N Ireland is not an invader but a welcome fellow citizen visiting or inhabiting a part of their own state. They are not foreigners. Please, I’ve had enough of dealing with our own British xenophobes in the last few days without having to deal with Irish ones.