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Bailey Peacock-Farrell: I'm ready to win more mind-games and be a penalty hero for Northern Ireland

Peacock-Farrell vows to pull off the stops again to fire Bara's boys into Euro finals

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Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell says he's ready to be another Euro 2020 play-off penalty shoot-out hero for Northern Ireland.

The Burnley stopper saved Haris Hajradinovic's spot-kick before Liam Boyce slammed in the winner in the 4-3 shoot-out success over Bosnia and Herzegovina in a tense semi-final.

After the game in Sarajevo finished 1-1, the Northern Ireland players held their nerve to book a final showdown with Slovakia at Windsor Park tomorrow night, and the dream of making it back-to-back European Championships may come down to another penalty shoot-out.

The stakes are even higher against Slovakia, and should it come down to a shoot-out, the tension would be unbearable - but ice-cool Peacock-Farrell is ready for anything.

"I am prepared for that," said Peacock-Farrell when asked about the prospect of another shoot-out. "As a squad we are prepared for penalties.

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"I try to put as much pressure on the taker as possible, try and fill the goal, maybe have a conversation with him, play some mind games. They know I have dived in previous penalties and I know where they have shot in their penalties, so there is a bit of mind games there, but I will try to put as much pressure as possible on the taker."

There is more expectation on a player to score a penalty than a keeper to save it, leaving the 24-year-old confident he can make a decisive stop.

"I'm not really nervous," he added. "It's a team game at the end of the day. I am aware of the situation. For me personally I am a fairly calm person in and outside of football. I could say there are only a handful of occasions where I have been a bit nervous, like my club debut, international debut as well. After that you just lose that nervousness, it's more excitement and the willingness to do well."

Bosnia ace Miralem Pjanic scored the first penalty and then booted the ball at Peacock-Farrell, indicating he was more than a little rattled.

"Yeah, I was really surprised at his reaction," added the former Leeds United man. "There wasn't too much said. I was making myself a nuisance. Maybe he was annoyed that I had saved his free-kick earlier on."

Peacock-Farrell added: “There is a bit of mind games and I quite enjoy that. I am glad it worked.”

Ian Baraclough’s men are once again practicing their penalty-taking skills but they would much rather see off Slovakia in normal time.

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Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough

William Cherry/Presseye

Ian Baraclough

“Belief and confidence is high, we are certainly optimistic, without underestimating or disrespecting our opponents,” added Peacock-Farrell.

“That would be a dangerous situation to be in because they do have big threats.

“We are in a good frame of mind and ready to perform on Thursday.

“That’s the dream, to reach a major tournament. It would mean so much to me to be able to do it for the first time.

“Some of the lads have done it once, and if we were all able to do it again it would mean so much to everyone on Thursday night.

“Throughout the camps I’ve been on in the last two or three years there have been conversations and memories that would pop up.

“As one who wasn’t there, I love listening to the stories, and hopefully I will be a part of those memories for the years to come.”


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