Northern Ireland 1 Germany 5: Northern Ireland boss Steve Beaglehole declared himself shellshocked after his team crashed to defeat in their opening UEFA Under-19 qualifier against Germany at the Coleraine Showgrounds last night.
After a scoreless first half, three goals in a frantic five minutes killed off Northern Ireland’s chances with Michael McLellan scoring the hosts’ consolation, a 30 yards shot fumbled in the rain by the German keeper.
Beaglehole said after the game: “I’m shell-shocked to be honest, I’ve never seen a game like it. I thought we were excellent in the first half, the first 20 minutes was the best football I’ve seen and we should have been three up.
“We didn’t pass the ball any where near as well as we did in the first half, we went a goal down and I have to say I was disappointed with the reaction of the players.
“We’ve got to finish with positives and if we can emulate our first half performance in the next two games we’re quite capable of winning those two. I’ve not lost confidence in the players because I’ve said it’s the best squad that I’ve had while I’ve been here and I still think that’s the case and they need to start proving it on the pitch.”
Hertha Berlin’s Nico Schulz headed in, unmarked, for the opener and then, in double quick time, Philip Hofmann scored the first of his two, there was a second for Schulz and a great team goal finished by Markus Mendler.
GERMANY: Horn, Vieira Da Costa, Hartherz (Heintz 72), Sama (Hoffmann 79), Rudiger, Kolasinac, Mendler, Hofmann, Parker, Draxler (Younes 85), Schulz. Unused subs: Gartner, Aulbach, Bittencourt.
Northern Ireland: Deane, Watson, Robinson, McKeown (Toland 89), Knowles, Burke (McCaffrey 64), Morgan (McAlinden 66), McLellan, Carson (c), Ball, Winchester. Unused subs: McCartan, Brennan, Wilson.
Referee: M. Gestranius (Finland).