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Green and white army danced through the boulevards of Paris after Northern Ireland made it into the top 16 teams of Euro 2016

By Michael McHugh, Press Association

Published 21/06/2016

Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans continue to celebrate despite defeat well after the final whistle is blown, during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans show their continued support in the stands following the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Northern Ireland fans in the stands pay tribute to the fan who died in the Ukraine group game during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group C match at the Parc Des Princes, Paris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Book and magazine sales permitted providing not solely devoted to any one team/player/match. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Fans showing their support at the Titanic Fanzone, Belfast as they watch Northern Ireland V Germany in Euro 2016. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Fans showing their support at the Titanic Fanzone, Belfast as they watch Northern Ireland V Germany in Euro 2016. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Fans showing their support at the Titanic Fanzone, Belfast as they watch Northern Ireland V Germany in Euro 2016. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Fans showing their support at the Titanic Fanzone, Belfast as they watch Northern Ireland V Germany in Euro 2016. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2016. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Northern Ireland fans celebrated like they had won the Euros after qualifying for the last 16.

The Green And White Army (GAWA) danced down the boulevards of Paris after a historic night in the French capital saw their team progress in their first major tournament for 30 years.

Joe Thompson, from Cullybackey, in Co Antrim, downed a pint of Kronenbourg and declared: "We are not going home yet."

The faithful had to wait a short time for results in other games to confirm their place, but there was a party atmosphere from the minute the game against Germany ended on Tuesday with a narrow 0-1 loss.

Supporters flew from Kuwait, Beirut and the US to be at the crunch final group clash at the Parc des Princes - the Park of Princes - and acclaimed their heroes like royalty with a standing ovation at the end.

They had besieged Paris in a mass of green shirts, flags, sombreros and banners.

And long after the Germans scored a first half deadlock breaker, fans in the stadium were still "doing the bouncie" following a result which is far better than feared.

They sang "Everywhere we go it is the Ulster boys making all the noise," and the emotion poured from the solid wall of green.

The men in green chanted at their counterparts: "You only sing when you are winning," and in one corner of the stadium the cries of Deutschland were drowned out by the UIstermen.

The atmosphere was cemented by a veritable battle of the bands between supporters with rival drummers.

Rory McIlroy pictured with goal keeper Michael McGovern after Tuesday evenings final Euro 2016 group game at the Parc des Princes, Paris between Northern Ireland and Germany.
Photo by William Cherry / Press Eye
Rory McIlroy pictured with goal keeper Michael McGovern after Tuesday evenings final Euro 2016 group game at the Parc des Princes, Paris between Northern Ireland and Germany. Photo by William Cherry / Press Eye
Pacemaker Press 21/6/2016 N Ireland v Germany EURO 2016 Group C Rory McIlroy during this evening's game at Parc Des Princes in Paris on Tuesday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - 21st June 2016 - Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness pictured with Rory McIlroy after they watched Northern Ireland against Germany during Tuesday evenings final Euro 2016 group game at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Photo by William Cherry / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - 21st June 2016 - Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Rory McIlroy pictured with goal keeper Michael McGovern after they watched Northern Ireland against Germany during Tuesday evenings final Euro 2016 group game at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Photo by William Cherry / Press Eye

The First Finaghy Northern Ireland Supporters' Club from South Belfast transports its bass drum to most away matches.

Sam McClean said: "We have a carry case. We have lugged it on taxis, trains, buses, the whole lot, then we take it home on a plane.

"Oversized baggage, you see. It goes everywhere."

They took it to the Northern Ireland war memorial in France at the Ulster Tower on Monday.

"It gets the crowd going," said Mr McClean

The Euros had been fantastic, he added. "You will never get it again, the atmosphere is unreal," he said

An inflatable crocodile which has been a permanent feature of Northern Ireland's travelling entourage again showed up in the capital, and the two bass drummers from south Belfast and London led the Ulstermen in raucous full voice in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

A beach ball was tossed enthusiastically between fans as bemused tourists with ears echoing from the drumbeat elbowed their way through the square and towards the Seine.

Earlier, Northern Ireland fans played their counterparts in a sign of friendship and co-operation ahead of the match.

Stormont Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness attended his first Northern Ireland game.

Will Grigg. Pic kevin Scott
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