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Northern Ireland in the mix to reach final round of Homeless World Cup

By Adam McKendry

Published 14/07/2016

Party time: The Northern Ireland lads enjoy the atmosphere yesterday
Party time: The Northern Ireland lads enjoy the atmosphere yesterday

Northern Ireland are in a good position heading into the second day of second round group matches at the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow.

Despite losing their opening group match to Chile, 5-4, they turned their fortunes around as the day went on, finishing strongly with a 7-5 win over Street Soccer United and a 6-1 win over India.

The team has excelled expectations in the tournament, having finished second in their first round group and yesterday's results were no surprise to the team, who are in fine form.

Chile, ranked fourth before the tournament began, were always going to be the toughest opponents that Justin McMinn's side had faced in the tournament so far, but his side gave it all they had and were unlucky to be on the losing side.

They returned to winning ways in their later games though, as they battled to victory over Street Soccer United, a team made up of refugees from host nation Scotland, and then cruised to a win over India to close out the day on a high.

The results leave Northern Ireland second in Group B, two points behind leaders Hungary, with two group matches left to play today.

They first take on cross-border rivals the Republic of Ireland before facing a potential winner-takes-all clash against Hungary if they triumph over the side from the Republic.

Should the Northern Irishmen fail to make the final stage they will drop down into one of the subsidiary competitions, most likely the Men's Plate, which would provide an alternative form of silverware.

The Republic were dealt the cruellest of blows yesterday as they suffered two defeats on penalties to Chile and Hungary, before recording their first victory of the second round against Street Soccer United in their final game of the day.

The Irishmen drew 2-2 with Hungary and then 6-6 with Chile, however on both occasions they found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreline when it came to spot kicks.

A resounding 10-3 win over the United team keeps them in touch in the group, however two wins today against Northern Ireland and India are essential if they want to stand any chance of making it to the final stage.

Belfast Telegraph

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