Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland v Faroe Islands: We have big chance to put things right insists Davis

By Stuart McKinley

Steve Davis could have talked around the issue. Tried to play down the significance of the match and in turn made an attempt at trying to keep some of the pressure off himself and his Northern Ireland team-mates.

Instead the Rangers midfielder has upped the ante ahead of tomorrow night’s clash with the Faroe Islands at Windsor Park.

After an embarrassing 1-1 draw in the Faroes, he knows that nothing else than a win will be enough, either to satisfy the fans or to keep Northern Ireland in contention for a place at next summer’s European Championship finals in Poland and Ukraine.

“It’s a vital game. It’s do or die for us in terms of qualifying,” said Davis.

“We have to realise that we’ve got to win the game, there’s no doubt about that.

“We’re confident that we can do that. I think over there we lacked a bit of disciplione in terms of our shape.

“Things didn’t seem to go for us and the whole team performance wasn’t up to sctratch.

“Hopefully we can put it right this time.”

The difference between victory and defeat is stark. Three points would propel Nigel Worthington’s men into third place in Group C on nine points, one point ahead of Serbia, who are next up at Windsor Park early next month and just two points adrift of Slovenia with a match in hand.

Group leaders Italy are all but home and dry, with 16 points from six games, the only points they’ve dropped so far was in the 0-0 draw at Windsor Park last October.

An unthinkable defeat would put Northern Ireland rock bottom, both in terms of the group standing and morale — and qualification hopes would die.

That’s something that Davis is desperate to stop happening.

He has been part of the Northern Ireland senior squad for six years now and has seen national heroes like Stephen Craigan and Keith Gillespie reach the end of the line at international level without ever pulling on the green shirt on one of football’s biggest stages.

The great George Best never made it to a World Cup or European Championship finals either and Davis doesn’t want to see his name — and those of his team-mates — added to the list.

Instead his desire is to etch it indelibly in Northern Ireland football history.

“It’s everybody’s aim to try to take Northern Ireland to a major championships,” said Davis.

“It’s no easy feat to try to achieve that, but we set our standards high and set goals for ourselves to try to do that.

“If you’ve played international football for so many years you want to achieve that and if you don’t you’ll always look back with a bit of regret.

“We have to give ourselves the best possible chance.

“If we can get the right result against the Faroes then hopefully it’ll take us a bit closer to doing that.”

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