Home Euro 2016 Northern Ireland close to Euro 2016 qualification

Northern Ireland close to Euro 2016 qualification

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West Brom centre-back Gareth McAuley scored twice in Northern Ireland's 3-1 Euro 2016 qualifier against the Faroe Islands
West Brom centre-back Gareth McAuley scored twice in Northern Ireland’s 3-1 Euro 2016 qualifier against the Faroe Islands

Northern Ireland are on the brink of sealing their first ever qualification for a European Championships tournament after winning 3-1 in the Faroe Islands on Friday.

Michael O’Neill’s men took the lead on 12 minutes, as Gareth McAuley headed home from an Olivier Norwood cross.

The home side were back on level terms on 36 minutes though, as Joan Edmundsson stabbed home an effort at the near post.

The visitors then took control of the game and missed chances through Kyle Lafferty and Niall McGinn. The Irish were handed a major handed a major advantage just after the hour mark, as Faroe Islands scorer was dismissed for a second bookable offence, after a lunging tackle on Norwood.

Northern Ireland made the most of their advantage by regaining the lead on 71 minutes. Chris Brunt sent in a free-kick and West Brom club-mate McAuley was once again there to glance a header past the Faroes ‘keeper.

Maximum points were sealed for the visitors on 75 minutes. Josh Magennis cut the ball back from the by-line to find Lafferty, who under pressure fired home a powerful effort on the turn.

The win means that McAuley and co. only need to defeat third-place Hungary on Monday night to seal their place at a major tournament since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

O’Neill and his players have done a sterling job and it looks like their efforts look set to pay-off with a trip to France next summer.

Will Northern Ireland secure the victory needed for qualification for Euro 2016?

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