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My Euro heroes can now shake the World: O'Neill

By Graham Luney

Michael O'Neill wants his Northern Ireland players to make the world sit up and take notice after becoming the pride of Europe.

O'Neill's side stormed back into the big time when they progressed to the last 16 at the Euro 2016 finals and confidence levels have soared going into the World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

Northern Ireland begin their mission to make the finals in Russia with a clash in the Czech Republic on September 4 but only Chris Baird has left the international stage, underlining the players' hunger to perform more heroics.

"With only one retirement in Chris Baird I think that shows the appetite of the players," said O'Neill (right) whose side will also come up against world champions Germany, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

"We'll make sure we are as competitive as possible and the players are looking forward to the challenge having had a taste of a major tournament. Certainly the players at the latter stages of their careers would love to get to a World Cup Finals and we have to do everything possible to make sure that that happens."

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