Belfast Telegraph

Have faith we really can do it: hero Kyle

Lafferty confident that Euro 2008 dream will be achieved

By Mark McIntosh

Kyle Lafferty left Stockholm on a high today and insisted that Northern Ireland CAN achieve mission impossible and qualify for the Euro 2008 finals.

Last month all seemed lost after awful defeats in Latvia and Iceland.

But the dream is alive once more following an excellent fighting display culminating in a stunning goal to earn Nigel Worthington's side a well deserved 1-1 draw against group leaders Sweden.

Lafferty's marvellous second half equaliser in Stockholm ensured all is still to play for in Northern Ireland's final two games against Denmark and Spain next month, and rammed Sweden's pre-match words down their throats in the process.

The Swedes may have predicted the Green and White Army would be lambs to the slaughter but their champagne remains on ice after blowing their big chance to book their place in Austria and Switzerland next summer.

The Swedes still need a point from their last two games against Spain and Latvia.

Northern Ireland need six from their matches, and other results to go their way, but Lafferty is sure our wee country can deliver their side of the bargain, although unfortunately for him he is suspended for the Danish game at Windsor Park, after picking up an unwarranted booking last night.

"If we keep playing like that we will get there," predicted Lafferty.

"Our chances took a bit of a dent in the last two games but we knew what was needed in Sweden and, thankfully, we're still in there fighting.

"I was delighted to score but let's not take anything away from the team performance.

"The gaffer told us to chase lost causes and everyone did that."

The Burnley striker claimed his third international goal which was easily the best of his career.

"I definitely think that is the best goal so far, especially when you consider how important it was," added the 20-year-old.

"I was getting frustrated because I don't think the referee gave me anything, but it was the perfect way to get over it.

"I am suspended for the Denmark game after getting booked in the first-half but I'm sure the lads will do what is needed.

"Hopefully I can do enough to get back in the team, but the most important thing is that we get a win against Denmark next month and go to Spain with everything still to play for."

Belfast Telegraph


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