Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Our boys' swede revenge

And so the roller-coaster ride continues?

With a dollop of luck, and a lot of hard work, plucky Northern Ireland can now still qualify for Euro 2008. We need to beat Denmark at home and inflict another historic defeat away to Spain to take us there.

But it's a bit more complicated than that. Sweden also need to lose their last two matches, or Spain lose their final two, and we'll there.

There will doubtless be lorry-loads of the proverbial blood, sweat and tears in between, but the point is that Northern Ireland is still in with a chance to qualify.

The little team derided by the Swedish media as "lambs to the slaughter" proved more than a handful for their opponents.

In fact, if anything the lampooning of David Healy as a sheep by Swedish newspaper Sportbladet gave Northern Ireland the psychological determination needed to take on an opposing team loaded with stars of great individual talent.

Instead of scattering, the Northern Ireland team played like lions, with a particularly superb performance from Kyle Lafferty to earn him the man of the match award ahead of multi-million pound stars like Inter Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Lafferty's strike was sweet revenge. Lambs to the slaughter? More like wolves in sheep's clothing.

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