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Northern Ireland fans are dreaming of more glory at Euro 2016

By Ian Cahoon

The Green and White Army are backing their heroes to cause a major upset in the knockout stages of Euro 2016.

Turkey's 2-0 win over the Czech Republic, means that Michael O'Neill's men have qualified from Group C, despite losing 1-0 to German.

They will now face either Wales or hosts France at the weekend, keeping the country gripped in Euros fever.

Ahead of the tournament some fans travelling to France purchased a 'follow my team' ticket, which gets them a seat for the length of time Northern Ireland remain in the competition, for the rest it will mean a mad scramble for tickets, beginning today.

John Wylie, from Belfast, said: "We'll sell out our allocation, there will be no worries on that front. It's going to be short notice to see who we play and where, but when you see the effort people made to get there then we'll make it back for the knockout stages.

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"Getting to the last 16 was as much as we could realistically aim for and it means this has been a successful tournament no matter what happens now.

"The tournament has got better and better as it's gone on for us, I don't think you would bet against causing a big upset in the last 16."

The one name on every fan's lips after last night's defeat against Germany was goalkeeper Michael McGovern.

The Fermanagh man had the performance of his life and supporters lavished praise on him afterwards.

"He has been excellent for us throughout the tournament," said Michael Richardson.

"Against Germany he was on another level. He's vindicated the manager for making him his first choice.

"He was probably the difference between a real hammering and only losing by a single goal."

Bangor man Stuart Crozier is hoping that O'Neill's men can learn from last night's game and spring a surprise in the knockout stages.

"I don't think you could say that we were bad in particular, but German are the World Cup winners." he said.

"Michael McGovern looked world class against world class players.

"It's bound to be tiring when you're chasing the ball for 90 minutes, but we probably didn't make the most of our chance when we had the ball.

"If we do make it through and play France in the last 16 we have to find a way of becoming more of a threat against teams like that."

The motto from this campaign has been 'dare to dream' and Whitehead fan Robert Moore believes it is very apt now.

He said: "I never thought I would see Northern Ireland reach a major tournament so to reach the last 16 is incredible.

"It looks like we are likely to face France. All the pressure will be on them. What a game that would be. There will be no shame in losing to the favourites and hosts but we can dare to dream."

Belfast Telegraph