Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Northern Ireland U21s ready for Germany challenge

Northern Ireland Under-21 manager Steve Beaglehole is relishing the challenge of facing Germany tomorrow even though his side have lost three successive matches in their UEFA Championship qualifying campaign.

Beaglehole, who is on Leicester's coaching staff, has taken heart from a narrow defeat against Iceland as he prepares to face the current European Champions in Belfast.

He said: "That was an improved performance and we are keen to give a good account of ourselves against Germany.

"There is no sterner test but it is a match we are looking forward in front of our own supporters.

"Germany are always well organised, the players know their jobs individually and collectively.

"They very rarely go through the motions. They have a winning mentality, which has been proven over the years. "

The match will go ahead as scheduled even though Germany's senior national team have cancelled a friendly with Chile on Saturday as a mark of respect to goalkeeper Robert Enke, following his death this week.

There will be a minute's silence at the Oval and Beaglehole would have supported a move to have the match postponed.

He said: "We are very fond of our national players and we would have been the same as the Germans regarding this tragedy and very distressed. One feels for the family after what has happened.

"We sometimes talk about how important football is but a tragedy like this tends to put things into perspective."