Belfast Telegraph

Almost there and we've the perfect stage to inspire us, says Davis

By Steven Beacom in Paris

Northern Ireland have moved a step closer to the knockout stages at Euro 2016 thanks to Albania's shock 1-0 win over Romania with captain Steven Davis insisting a perfect stage awaits the team in Paris tomorrow night to enjoy another historic occasion.

Michael O'Neill's side would be guaranteed a place in the last 16 if they were to beat world champions Germany at the Parc des Princes, though a draw would also probably be enough.

Even a narrow defeat may extend Northern Ireland's stay in France as one of the four best third placed teams in the six groups - a prospect looking more likely after Albania's result last night.

They have finished third in Group A on three points, but require Northern Ireland to lose by four goals to Germany to jump above O'Neill's men in the standings.

With that highly unlikely, Northern Ireland would only need a better record than one other third placed side to progress. As the groups stand Davis, who is relishing tomorrow's game with Germany, and his team-mates are on course to do it.

Writing in his Belfast Telegraph Euro 2016 column, Davis says: "It is a great stage for us to play on in Paris in a great city, at a fantastic stadium against the world champions in a major tournament. What more could you ask for?"

Belfast Telegraph