Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland in tough Euro 2016 group but they can do it, say fans

By Adrian Rutherford

The Green and White Army believes Northern Ireland will have to pull off another miracle after being drawn in one of the toughest groups.

Michael O'Neill's side open against Poland, arguably the most difficult of the third seeds.

They then face Ukraine before concluding the group phase against reigning world champions Germany.

Thousands of fans are expected to pack Nice, Lyon and Paris to cheer on O'Neill's side.

Among them will be Simon Jenkinson, from Dungannon.

Although he wanted a better draw, Simon is looking forward to the tournament - our first since the 1986 World Cup.

"I'm disappointed with the teams, as I've already seen Northern Ireland play Poland and Germany. The Ukraine will be interesting," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I was hoping to be in Group F (Portugal, Austria, Hungary and Iceland).

"However, we should be grateful that we're there."

Another fan, Ian McKinney, said: "It's not a great draw from a footballing perspective. It will be very tough for us to get out of the group; however, it's pretty decent from a travel and convenience point of view.

"All the venues are handy to get to - it will be a huge scramble from here on in."

Celebrity fans also gave their reaction on Twitter.

Golf star Rory McIlroy, referring to the Republic's win over Germany in the qualifying campaign, tweeted: "If the Republic can beat them ...#gawa."

Boxing champ Carl Frampton joked: "Germany, Poland, Ukraine. Easy group #GAWA."

Colin Murray wrote: "Germany and Poland! Bring it on! We're Not Brazil, We're Northern Ireland, but it's all the same to me! Party time!"

Fans also gave their reaction on the Irish FA's Facebook page.

David Hynes wrote: "Hard group, but we always raise our game the bigger the opposition."

Colin Scott said: "Nothing to fear apart from fear itself. Would rather play Germany first.

"They will be nervous. Could sneak a result. Ever the optimist."

Meanwhile, Michael Oliver was striking a rather optimistic tone.

"Nothing to fear from any of our opponents. If the Republic of Ireland can live with Germany and Poland, then so can we," he said.

Gareth McStravick admitted it was a tough group.

"I don't know what the English media are saying about the Republic having a tough group, our group is tougher in my mind," he wrote.

Belfast Telegraph


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