Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Adios to Euro dream

Spain 1-0 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes, left, and Steven Craigan react at the end of a Euro 2008 qualifying soccer match against Spain at the Gran Canaria stadium in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria island, Spain, Wednesday Nov. 21, 2007.
Spain's Xavi Hernandez, left, celebrates with David Silva

Northern Ireland's Euro 2008 qualifying hopes have ended with a 1-0 defeat to Spain in Gran Canaria.

Needing to beat a gifted Spanish side and hope that Latvia would overcome Sweden, fortune did not favour the brave when the outstanding Stephen Craigan deflected Xavi's long range effort into the net on 53 minutes.

There was no way back after that, rendering Sweden's result immaterial. The Swedes defeated Latvia 2-1 in Stockholm to qualify with Spain.

There was still immense pride among the fans after the remarkable achievements of their heroes. Without question this Northern Ireland team can reflect on their efforts with huge pride.

Manager Nigel Worthington said: "The boys have been magnificent in this campaign and to take it to the last game should make them feel very proud."

Worthington will now be offered a new deal.

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