Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Northern Ireland v Italy: Players rue one that got away

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis battles Italy's Andrea Pirlo
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis battles Italy's Andrea Pirlo
Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle
Steven Davis battles Italy's Antonio Cassano
Chris Baird battles Italy's Stefano Mauri
Niall McGinn battles Italy's Domenico Criscito
Niall McGinn battles Italy's Domenico Criscito
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley battles Italy's Giorgio Chiellini
Fans at WIndsor Park
Phillip Hughes and Steven Bryce from Milltown Dungannon
Kaleb Wilson
Taylors from Belfast: Stephen, Patton, Duncan and Iain
Mathew and David Herron with Jeff and Lauren Hagin
Northern Ireland fans Roger Irvine, Peter Swann, Ricky Neely and Ricky Parker
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley jumps with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano
Norther Ireland's David Healy battles Italy's Daniele De Rossi
Northern Ireland v Italy
Northern Ireland fans
Northern Ireland fans
Norther Ireland fans Billy McAneney and his grand daughter Sarah Shields from Bangor
Steven Taylor and Nathan Wilkinson from Portadown
Northern Ireland v Italy
Mason King from Belfast
Tasha Blair from Limavady
Reeny Crawford from New Zealand and Dorothy Gibson from Lisburn
Matthew from Belfast
Stephen McCormick from Newtownards pictured before the match
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle
Northern Ireland's Stephen Craigan (centre) and Steven Davis with Italy's Antonio Cassano
Northern Ireland fans
Italy's Stefano Mauri Ê.
Stephen Craigan with Italy's Daniele De Rossi just before Northern Ireland claimed the ball hit the Italian for a handball
Drew Burgess (left) with his wife Julie (right) and Stuart Killen from Newtownards
Kilkeel Northern Ireland supporters club
Portavogie Northern Ireland supporters club
Zak Stewart from the Portavogie Northern Ireland supporters club
Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes had his family cheering him on during Friday nights Euro 2012 qualifier against Italy at Windsor Park. Daughters Keira (6), Leila (4) pictured with mum Sam walked out with dad before the big game
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano
Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle
Grant McCann battles Italy's Mattia Cassani
Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty celebrate on the final whistle
Nigel Worthington celebrates on the final whistle
Steven Davis of Northern Ireland gets past Andrea Pirlo of Italy
Stephen Craigan of Northern Ireland salutes the crowd
Niall McGinn of Northern Ireland is challenged by Claudio Marchisio of Italy
Claudio Marchisio of Italy controls the ball during the EURO 2012 Qualifier Group C match
Stefano Mauri of Italy and Chris Brunt of Northern Ireland compete during the Euro 2012 group C qualifying match
Andrea Pirlo of Italy is challenged
Warren Feeney of Northern Ireland challenges Giorgio Chiellini of Italy
Florian Solinas Newark who will be 9 tomorrow from Italy but who lives in Belfast receives his complimentary tickets to tonight's International football match at Windsor park from Podium for Sport Director Paul
Stephen Craigan of Northern Ireland sees his cross stopped by the arm of Daniele De Rossi of Italy
Warren Feeney and Stefano Mauri (right)

Grant McCann revealed that the Northern Ireland dressing room atmosphere was tinged with disappointment at last night's 0-0 draw with Italy.

Amazingly a scoreless battle with a country which has won the World Cup four times wasn't satisfactory to a group of players who have become used to toppling top sides at Windsor Park.

And even goalkeeper Maik Taylor — who kept a third competitive clean sheet in a row — was experiencing mixed emotions as only one point was garnered when three were desired.

“I sat in the dressing room with David Healy and he's really disappointed,” said Peterborough midfielder McCann.

“We could have been looking at three points. We created chances and worked hard to stop Italy from breaking us down.

“We tracked their runners and didn't give them room and restricted them to very few chances.

“There are a lot of positives for us to take from the game.

“We've four points from two games which is very good at this stage and hopefully we can go to the Faroe Islands on Tuesday and make it seven.”

Taylor made two excellent stops as the game drew towards a close, which ensured the point was collected.

It meant that he was the hero of the night, with the strikers or midfielders unable to claim that honour.

“I thought we played very well and we got stronger as the game went on,” said Taylor.

“We'd have settled for a point before and it's a good result, but we could have won it and we'd a couple of chances to do that.

“Italy showed us great respect in the early part of the game and they played well. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we'd prepared for that.

“As far as we're concerned it's a job well done. A point is good, but in the last ten minutes we could have nicked it. Overall it was an excellent performance.”

If Taylor can keep another clean sheet in the Faroes then there is every chance that three points can be collected — and he doesn't care how they come.

“The performance doesn't matter in the Faroe Islands, it's all about getting three points.”

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