Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 France Finals: Everything the Green and White Army needs to know

Follow the Belfast Telegraph as we countdown to Northern Ireland's first kick-off

Northern Ireland have departed for the European Championship Finals in France.

This summer's tournament will be the first time in 30 years the Green and White Army has had a major tournament to savour.

Here is everything you need to know to be fully prepared for the big kick-off.

The Team

Manager: Michael O'Neill

Goalkeepers: Alan Mannus, Michael McGovern, Roy Carroll

Defenders: Craig Cathcart, Jonathan Evans, Gareth McAuley, Luke McCullough, Conor McLaughlin, Lee Hodson, Aaron Hughes, Patrick McNair, Chris Baird.

Midfielders: Steven Davis, Oliver Norwood, Corry Evans, Shane Ferguson, Stuart Dallas, Niall McGinn, Jamie Ward,

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington, Josh Magennis, Will Grigg.

More: Michael O'Neill: Northern Ireland are out to surpass the greats of 58 and the 80s

The Fixtures

Northern Ireland are in group C of the finals, they play:

Sunday, June 12, 5pm: Poland at Allianz Rivera, Nice

Thursday, June 16, 5pm: Ukraine at Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon

Tuesday, June 21, 5pm: Germany at Parc des Princes, Paris

More: Stephen Nolan hunting for supporters to take him to his first ever Northern Ireland match at Euro 2016

Opponents

Poland

Northern Ireland's record against Poland is W3 D1 L2. The nations have not met in the UEFA European Championship since 1962, when Northern Ireland won two qualifiers against Poland in the space of seven weeks – 2-0 in Chorzow and 2-0 again in Belfast. It took Poland 42 years to exact their competitive revenge, triumphing in both 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, after which they progressed as section runners-up behind England. Maciej Żurawski scored in both games as Poland prevailed 3-0 in Belfast and 1-0 in Warsaw. Northern Ireland were back in charge for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, winning 3-2 at home and drawing 1-1 away, Kyle Lafferty opening the scoring in Chorzow although neither team made it to the finals in South Africa.

Jonny Evans scored his first international goal in the 3-2 victory against Poland in Belfast in March 2009.

Paddy McCourt, Niall McGinn and Steven Davis have all played alongside Polish keeper Artur Boruc at club level.

Ukraine

Northern Ireland have lost two and drawn two in nations' previous four fixtures. Their past two games were 0-0 draws. In the two sides first meeting, a young Michael O'Neill came off the bench for Northern Ireland in a 1-0 loss in Belfast for the 1998 World Cup qualifies. While an Iain Dowie goal is the only time Northern Ireland have scored against the country. That was in Kyiv again in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers.

Steven Davis played against Ukraine captain Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in the 2008 UEFA Cup final in Manchester, when Tymoshchuk's Zenit side overcame Davis's Rangers 2-0.

Germany

Northern Ireland's record against Germany is W2 D4 L8 (W2 D2 L5 in competitive games). They famously did the double over West Germany in the qualifying competition for the 1984 EURO finals, Ian Stewart scoring the only goal in Belfast and Norman Whiteside doing likewise in Hamburg. Current Northern Ireland assistant boss Jimmy Nicholl played in both of those fixtures. The only time the countries have come face to face at a major tournament was at the 1958 FIFA World Cup, when they drew 2-2 in a group stage encounter in Malmo. Both teams progressed to the quarter-finals. Just one match has been played between the sides this century – a June 2005 friendly in Belfast which Germany won 4-1 – but there will be two more in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Gareth McAuley made his international debut in the 4-1 friendly defeat by Germany in Belfast in June 2005

Paddy McNair plays alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger at Manchester United.

Northern Ireland goalkeeping coach Maik Taylor was born in Hildesheim, Germany, in 1971 to a German mother. A Werder Bremen fan growing up, he won the first of his 88 caps against the country of his birth in March 1999.

Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans and Germany's Mesut Özil met in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League round of 16, when Özil's Real Madrid defeated Evans's Manchester United 3-2 on aggregate.

Germany's Emre Can and Northern Ireland's Ryan McLaughlin are on the books at Liverpool. Right-back McLaughlin spent the 2015/16 season on loan with Aberdeen.

Evans scored in United's 5-0 UEFA Champions League victory against a Leverkusen side containing Germany's Bernd Leno, Lars Bender and Gonzalo Castro on 27 November 2013.

More: Kyle Lafferty should be a star in Premier League, insists Peter McParland

Fanzones

For those not travelling to France for the Euros the organisers of Belsonic are to screen the games at a dedicated fanzone at Titanic Belfast.

More: 

Euro 2016 Belfast fanzone 'closest thing to being in France', says Michael O'Neill

Euro 2016 Northern Ireland fan songs - From Will Grigg's on fire to Making our Way to Paris - which will you be singing? 

Armchair fans

And for those of us who like a bit of comfort to watch the team on their bid to conquer all before them, the games will be screened on both BBC and UTV.

The first and the third games (Poland and Germany) will be on BBC, with the middle Ukraine game on UTV.

And if you want the full fan experience, there's always a Panini shiny.

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