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Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 heroics 'built on team spirit'

By Steven Beacom

Published 14/09/2016

History boys: Northern Ireland aces Gareth McAuley, Steven Davis and Oliver Norwood celebrate the 2-0 triumph over Ukraine at the Euro 2016 finals
History boys: Northern Ireland aces Gareth McAuley, Steven Davis and Oliver Norwood celebrate the 2-0 triumph over Ukraine at the Euro 2016 finals

Northern Ireland showed a 'strong team ethic, commitment to the cause, discipline and mental strength' during the Euro 2016 finals, according to a new Uefa technical report published by European football's governing body.

Focusing on the game plans of manager Michael O'Neill, the section on Northern Ireland detailed the tactics and strategies of the team, praising the side's set-pieces and the work-rate of captain Steven Davis and Corry Evans in midfield.

How UEFA rate Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 performance
How UEFA rate Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 performance

O'Neill's (below) men and the Green and White Army had the time of their lives in France during the summer when they qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament. In their group, Northern Ireland narrowly lost 1-0 to Poland and World champions Germany, but a famous 2-0 victory over Ukraine in Lyon saw them through to the knockout stages, where they were unfortunate to lose by a single goal to Wales.

The Uefa report, compiled by technical observers including former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Sunderland boss David Moyes, ex-Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Packie Bonner and French midfield great Alain Giresse, stated that O'Neill's default formation was 4-1-4-1, although against Poland and Wales it pointed out the manager used a 5-3-2 system.

It added there was an 'emphasis on compact defending and direct counter-attacking', 'good second ball support by central midfielders Davis and Evans' and 'very dangerous set-plays in attack based on aerial power' which led to Northern Ireland's first goal of the tournament versus Ukraine when Gareth McAuley powered home a header from Oliver Norwood's free-kick.

The report also stated that, when the ball was lost, there was 'immediate high pressing by middle to front players', 'conservative full-backs careful to deny counter-attacking players' and, when the ball was won in defence, there were 'frequent early passes to Davis and Evans'.

O'Neill and his players will be happy with the overall summary which read that Northern Ireland displayed a 'strong team ethic, commitment to the cause, discipline and mental strength'.

It won't surprise that skipper Davis was Northern Ireland's top passer with 104 during the tournament. Defender Jonny Evans, superb in France, was next on 93 with Norwood on 86. The most frequent pass came from Norwood to Davis, on 21 occasions.

Intriguingly, Northern Ireland had the highest percentage (28%) of long passes in the finals with Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland third on 21%.

Northern Ireland were second bottom of the 24 competing nations in terms of possession on 37%. Only Iceland, who reached the last eight by conquering England, were lower on 36%. Top of this particular table were Germany, who O'Neill's men face next month in the World Cup qualifiers, on 63%.

Northern Ireland were eighth in average distance covered per game with the Republic surprisingly bottom of the heap in this area. Portugal, winners of the tournament, were 11th.

In summarising Martin O'Neill's men, who like Northern Ireland reached the last 16 before losing to hosts France, Uefa's technical team described the Republic as having an 'outstanding work ethic, team spirit and never-say-die-attitude'.

The report added that key features of the Republic's tactics were a 'non-possession game with direct attacking rather than build-up from the back' and a 'strong, compact defensive block and aerial power in defence and attack'.

Northern Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Northern Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event First Minister Arlene Foster and Communities Minister Paul Givan pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team willÊare on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in FranceÊ Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Northern Ireland football Manager Michael O'Neill pictured at the Fan Zone. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Northern Ireland football Manager Michael O'Neill pictured at the Fan Zone. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Northern Ireland football Manager Michael O'Neill pictured at the Fan Zone. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event First Minister Arlene Foster and Communities Minister Paul Givan pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team willÊare on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in FranceÊ Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Northern Ireland football Manager Michael O'Neill pictured at the Fan Zone. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Nortehrn Ireland fans and players pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France . Photo by Stephen Hamilton/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Michael O'Neill pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Michael O'Neill pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Michael O'Neill pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Michael O'Neill pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will be on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photographer - ©Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph Belfast, UK - February 27 2016. Michael O'neill is tossed in the air as the Northern Ireland team arrive home to the Titanic Slipways in Belfast where a crowd of up to 10,000 people welcomed the team at the fanzone. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph Belfast, UK - February 27 2016. Michael O'neill is tossed in the air as the Northern Ireland team arrive home to the Titanic Slipways in Belfast where a crowd of up to 10,000 people welcomed the team at the fanzone. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph Belfast, UK - February 27 2016. Michael O'neill is tossed in the air as the Northern Ireland team arrive home to the Titanic Slipways in Belfast where a crowd of up to 10,000 people welcomed the team at the fanzone. ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 27-06-2016: Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's football team come home to heroes' welcome. Thousands of Northern Ireland supporters pictured at the Fanzone in Titanic Belfast. The homecoming event is being hosted by the Department of Communities, Irish FA, Belsonic and Belfast City Council. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Northern Ireland fans at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Members of the 1st Finaghy Northern Ireland Supporters Club carrying the clubs bass drum at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Football fans pictured at the homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 Northern Ireland football team Homecoming Event Football fans pictured at the Homecoming event for the Northern Ireland football team at the Fan Zone in Titanic Quarter where the team will are on stage to share their experiences of Euro2016 in France  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Northern Ireland fans Ethan Bothwell, Mackenzie Alexander, Granny Julie McCrory, Brooke Bothwell, Darla McCrory at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. Pic Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fan Brian White at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans Angela Barnes (left) with her sister Georgie at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans Nicola Clyde with her daughter Joni and son Matthew at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans Mellissa Telford and Matthew Wright at the Titanic Fanzone stage ahead the Northern Ireland team homecoming to Belfast from the 2016 Euro Championship in France. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel Gareth McAuley
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel Manager Michael O'Neill
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel Will Grigg
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel Oliver Norwood
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel Kyle Lafferty
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by Matt Mackey Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Culloden Hotel Jonny Evans
Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Manager Michael O'Neill exits the plane. Press Eye William Cherry
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Kyle Lafferty
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Stuart Dallas, Captain Steven Davis and Jimmy Nicholl Assistant Manager
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Kyle Lafferty
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Oliver Norwood
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Captain Steven Davis.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Josh Magennis.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Josh Magennis.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Conor Washington
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Paddy McNair
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Gareth McAuley and Craig Cathcart
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Corry Evans and Jonny Evans
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Manager Michael O'Neill
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Kyle Lafferty
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Conor Washington
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Paddy McNair
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Josh Magennis.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Oliver Norwood
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Captain Steven Davis.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Kyle Lafferty
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Stuart Dallas, Captain Steven Davis and Jimmy Nicholl Assistant Manager
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Corry Evans and Jonny Evans
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th June 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland team arrive home after a successful Euro 2016 tournament in France, Belfast International Airport. Gareth McAuley and Craig Cathcart

There was individual praise for full-back Seamus Coleman plus midfielders Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick.

There were, as you would expect, compliments from Uefa for Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales, who were considered a 'well organised unit built on resolute defence, endeavour and team spirit'.

More surprising was the positive report given to England, who were described as a 'youthful, committed, energetic team with technique in all departments'.

Those qualities certainly weren't on show in their shock loss to Iceland in the first knockout phase, which led to the resignation of boss Roy Hodgson.

Northern Ireland had the highest percentage of long passes out of every team at Euro 2016

Belfast Telegraph

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