Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's Euro dream turns to nightmare

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland fans were left dejected last night after their team suffered a humiliating defeat against Estonia.

The team lost 4-1 in an away match featuring a litany of errors, losing to a side ranked a mere 86th in the world.

Around 1,200 enthusiastic Green and White Army supporters had made the trip to Tallinn last night — only to see their hopes of a place in the Euro 2012 finals reduced to tatters after an embarrassing loss.

Fans were quick to convey their utter disappointment on supporters website Our Wee Country moments after the whistle was blown.

Many were angry over the side’s poor showing with one fan describing the performance as “an utter disgrace”.

“Yes, individual errors let us down — but our lack of passion and desire was clear to see,” he said.

Another shattered supporter’s reaction was poignant in its brevity, summing it all up in one word — “woeful”.

Several of the club’s fans have already pointed the blame at Northern Ireland’s current boss, Nigel Worthington, who is paid over £400,000 a year by the Irish FA.

“There is nothing positive to say about the match apart from it’s another nail in the coffin for Nigel...”

Another added that “I am not sure if it can get any worse.”

Speaking from Tallinn last night, Gary McAllister, spokesman for the Amalgamation of NI Supporters Clubs, said the fans were shocked at the side’s pitiful performance.

“It was hugely disappointing. The fans are very disappointed. I think the resulting performance speaks for itself,” said Gary.

“Football is a game of opinions and I don’t think fans could take anything other than disappointment from the loss.

He said Northern Ireland now had to spend some time reflecting on the poor performance.

“Well we’ve two games left and a period of reflection would be a good thing. We’ve taken that away from the Estonia game,” he said.

“People here are very friendly and you have to be gracious in defeat. I have to congratulate the Estonian team for their victory.”

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland drew 0-0 against Russia at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, giving them a fighting chance at qualifying for Euro 2012.

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