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Devastating exit will make Northern Ireland stronger, says Norwood

By Steven Beacom

Published 27/06/2016

First Minister Arlene Foster with Northern Ireland players after the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
First Minister Arlene Foster with Northern Ireland players after the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
First Minister Arlene Foster with Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward after the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with his daughters after the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Michael McGovern are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Corry Evans is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis and Oliver Norwood are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland'sJosh Magennis is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated by Wales 1-0 in Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas applauds the fans after the final whistle during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Ben Davies of Wales celebrates his team's win while Northern Ireland players show their dejection after the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty throws his boots to the fans after the final whistle during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Josh Magennis (2nd L) and Northern Ireland players show their dejection after their team's 0-1 defeat in the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis after Wales' Gareth Bale scores against them during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Gareth Bale (L) and Aaron Ramsey (R) of Wales celebrate their team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates on the final whistle during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas with Wales' Ashley Williams during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Wales' Gareth Bale (left) celebrates with teammate Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor (right) after seeing his side score their first goal of the game conceded by Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley (not pictured) during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood with Wales' Aaron Ramsey during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Wales' James Chester during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Neil Taylor during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart with Wales' Aaron Hughes during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Neil Taylor during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Wales' Chris Gunter during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Wales' Chris Gunter during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Wales' Gareth Bale battles for the ball with Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward (left) and Corry Evans (right) during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Joe Giddens/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty with Wales' Ben Davies during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Wales' Chris Gunter during Saturday evenings last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 25th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Wales' Ashley Williams (left) and Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty battle for the ball in the air during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Wales' Gareth Bale (centre) battles for the ball against Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes (right) and Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Gareth Bale (centre) battles for the ball against Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes (right) and Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (left) and Wales' Joe Allen battle for the ball during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Gareth Bale of Wales and Oliver Norwood of Northern Ireland compete for the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 25: Stuart Dallas of Northern Ireland reacts after missing a chance during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland at Parc des Princes on June 25, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis (left) and Wales' Aaron Ramsey (centre) battle for the ball during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Sam Vokes (centre) battles for the ball against Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley (top) and Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Joe Allen (left) and Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty battle for the ball during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris.Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales player hold a group huddle during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Wales' Joe Allen jump for the ballduring the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland players warm up before the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Gareth Bale during the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. : Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Wales' Gareth Bale (top centre) warms up before the round of 16 match at the Parc de Princes, Paris. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland players during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill speaks to his players during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Conor Washington lifts Oliver Norwood as Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty watches on during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Shane Ferguson and Steven Davis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley, Jamie Ward and Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley, Jamie Ward and Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Jonny Evans during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Oliver Norwood during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Shane Ferguson and Steven Davis during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 24th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern during Friday nights training session at the Parc des Princes ahead of their game against Wales in the last 16 of the Euro 2016 tournament.
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis chases the ball during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Corry Evans chases the ball during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Josh Magennis chases the ball during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas chases the ball during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley , Kyle Lafferty and Jamie Ward take a tumble during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 24/6/2016 Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill speaks to Will Grigg and Kyle Lafferty during training at Parc Des Princes in Paris ahead of their Euro 2016, final16 game against Wales on Saturday evening. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Oliver Norwood believes the 'cruel' manner of Northern Ireland's exit from Euro 2016 can drive the team on in the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.

In the immediate aftermath of Saturday's 1-0 loss to Wales in Paris, the Reading midfielder said he was so devastated, he had no interest in watching any more of the games in the tournament.

Looking ahead: Oliver Norwood insists Northern Ireland's cruel exit will make them hungry and raring to go when the World Cup qualifiers come around
Looking ahead: Oliver Norwood insists Northern Ireland's cruel exit will make them hungry and raring to go when the World Cup qualifiers come around

Northern Ireland had been on top for most of the contest before a late Gareth McAuley own goal decided the outcome in the favour of Wales.

"For us to go out the way we have is devastating," said Norwood.

"I thought we played as well as we have in the tournament. You need a bit of luck in football sometimes and we didn't quite have that with us against Wales.

"We left everything out there and we're devastated to be going home. It's just a cruel, cruel game at times."

Norwood added: "The whole build-up, the tournament, the games at Euro 2016 have been incredible.

"The heartbreak is part of it too. It'll make us all stronger as characters and we'll come back stronger for the experience when the World Cup games begin.

"There's more to come from this team, from this squad and we know that.

"We can't leave it another 30 years before Northern Ireland enjoys this experience again. We've got to make sure it's a more regular thing and we're confident that we can kick on and enjoy more of these tournaments."

Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye) Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast, UK - February 25 2016. Fans gather at the Northern Ireland fanzone as they take on Wales in the Euro 2016 final 16 game. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland fans take over the Boucher playing fields to support the green and white in their Euro 2016 game against Wales. Picture Matt Bohill Pacemaker Press

Speaking about the sensational support of the Northern Ireland fans, Norwood said: "We're devastated for them. They've been absolutely unbelievable. They genuinely are the best fans in the world and nobody can compete with them. They will have a host of memories to take away from this."

One of those was Niall McGinn's injury-time goal in the 2-0 Group C victory over Ukraine in Lyon.

The Aberdeen winger commented: "It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Even just to be in a major tournament like this was a great experience and to score against Ukraine was unbelievable.

"We are bitterly disappointed to be out. We kept their better players frustrated and limited their chances. We probably created a few more ourselves and on another day one of those would have gone in and it would have changed the course of the game."

Belfast Telegraph

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