Northern Ireland v Germany: Win, lose or draw, the connotations for Michael O'Neill and the Green and White Army at Euro 2016
Given the extended nature of this year's Euro 2016 tournament, it's not all cut and dry and Northern Ireland stand a good chance of progressing even if they finish third in their group.
The state of play...
Northern Ireland win: If Michael O’Neill’s men stun the Germans they would top the group with six points unless Poland inflict a third defeat on Ukraine to finish on seven. Winning Group C would set up a meeting with one of the best-performing third-placed teams — probably Slovakia — while finishing second to Poland would see mean a meeting with Group A runners-up Switzerland.
A draw: Regardless of the result between Ukraine and Poland, this would see Northern Ireland finish third with four points and needing to have performed better than at least two of the other third-placed teams in order to remain in the tournament. Provided the record meant they were one of the four best third-placed sides, they would play a group winner in the last 16 — most likely Group A winners France.
Germany win: Even a defeat to Germany can’t stop Northern Ireland finishing third. With just three points to their name, progression to the knock-out phase would require two of the other five third-placed teams to finish with an inferior overall record. A 1-0 or 2-0 defeat would still would still give Northern Ireland a better record than Albania.
Belfast Telegraph Digital