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Northern Ireland v Hungary: This is our time; we'll deliver Euro 2016 finals for you all, says Michael O'Neill

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By Steven Beacom

Published 07/09/2015

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Sunday's press conference at Windsor Park ahead of the Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Sunday's press conference at Windsor Park ahead of the Euro 2016 Qualifier against Hungary.

Michael O'Neill has told expectant Northern Ireland supporters that his players have the character to defeat Hungary at Windsor Park tonight (7.45pm) and qualify for the Euro 2016 finals.

In upbeat mood on the eve of the Group F showdown, manager O'Neill urged fans to continue believing in the team which has taken the country to the verge of football history.

Should the Hungarians be beaten, it will be the first time Northern Ireland have reached the European Championship finals and the first time the nation has qualified for a major tournament since the 1986 World Cup.

With Northern Ireland top of the table, they will have other chances to make it to France in the two games that remain after this one, but O'Neill and his players are determined to complete what many thought was mission impossible by 9.35pm tonight.

Asked by the Belfast Telegraph to send a message to the fans ahead of the biggest and possibly most tense match of his life, O'Neill said: "I hope the supporters stick with the team - simple as that. Believe in us, which I think they do.

"The players want to deliver for them. We know the sense of anticipation because of the amount of people coming up to talk to us about France and I really do believe we have all the characteristics to see the campaign out.

"I think it will be a fantastic tournament to be at and I think it would be fitting for our fans to be there.

"As always, the crowd at Windsor will be a big factor.

"We want it to be intense and to be intimidating, but equally, they have to understand that the team has to play with a patience and a clear head as well. We have to play on the front foot but not be reckless."

Belfast Telegraph

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