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Northern Ireland v Italy: Players rue one that got away

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Northern Ireland's Steven Davis battles Italy's Andrea Pirlo

Northern Ireland's Steven Davis battles Italy's Andrea Pirlo

Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle

Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle

©William Cherry / Presseye

Steven Davis battles Italy's Antonio Cassano

Steven Davis battles Italy's Antonio Cassano

Chris Baird battles Italy's Stefano Mauri

Chris Baird battles Italy's Stefano Mauri

Niall McGinn battles Italy's Domenico Criscito

Niall McGinn battles Italy's Domenico Criscito

Niall McGinn battles Italy's Domenico Criscito

Niall McGinn battles Italy's Domenico Criscito

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley battles Italy's Giorgio Chiellini

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley battles Italy's Giorgio Chiellini

Fans at WIndsor Park

Fans at WIndsor Park

Phillip Hughes and Steven Bryce from Milltown Dungannon

Phillip Hughes and Steven Bryce from Milltown Dungannon

Kaleb Wilson

Kaleb Wilson

Taylors from Belfast: Stephen, Patton, Duncan and Iain

Taylors from Belfast: Stephen, Patton, Duncan and Iain

Mathew and David Herron with Jeff and Lauren Hagin

Mathew and David Herron with Jeff and Lauren Hagin

Northern Ireland fans Roger Irvine, Peter Swann, Ricky Neely and Ricky Parker

Northern Ireland fans Roger Irvine, Peter Swann, Ricky Neely and Ricky Parker

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley jumps with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley jumps with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano

Paul Faith

Norther Ireland's David Healy battles Italy's Daniele De Rossi

Norther Ireland's David Healy battles Italy's Daniele De Rossi

Northern Ireland v Italy

Northern Ireland v Italy

Northern Ireland fans

Northern Ireland fans

Northern Ireland fans

Northern Ireland fans

Norther Ireland fans Billy McAneney and his grand daughter Sarah Shields from Bangor

Norther Ireland fans Billy McAneney and his grand daughter Sarah Shields from Bangor

Steven Taylor and Nathan Wilkinson from Portadown

Steven Taylor and Nathan Wilkinson from Portadown

Northern Ireland v Italy

Northern Ireland v Italy

Mason King from Belfast

Mason King from Belfast

Tasha Blair from Limavady

Tasha Blair from Limavady

©Russell Pritchard / Presseye

Reeny Crawford from New Zealand and Dorothy Gibson from Lisburn

Reeny Crawford from New Zealand and Dorothy Gibson from Lisburn

©Russell Pritchard / Presseye

Matthew  from Belfast

Matthew from Belfast

©Russell Pritchard / Presseye

Stephen McCormick from Newtownards pictured before the match

Stephen McCormick from Newtownards pictured before the match

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle

©William Cherry / Presseye

Northern Ireland's Stephen Craigan (centre) and Steven Davis with Italy's Antonio Cassano

Northern Ireland's Stephen Craigan (centre) and Steven Davis with Italy's Antonio Cassano

Northern Ireland fans

Northern Ireland fans

Italy's Stefano Mauri Ê.

Italy's Stefano Mauri Ê.

Stephen Craigan with Italy's Daniele De Rossi just before Northern Ireland claimed the ball hit the Italian for a handball

Stephen Craigan with Italy's Daniele De Rossi just before Northern Ireland claimed the ball hit the Italian for a handball

Drew Burgess (left) with his wife Julie (right) and Stuart Killen from Newtownards

Drew Burgess (left) with his wife Julie (right) and Stuart Killen from Newtownards

Kilkeel Northern Ireland supporters club

Kilkeel Northern Ireland supporters club

Portavogie Northern Ireland supporters club

Portavogie Northern Ireland supporters club

Zak Stewart from the Portavogie Northern Ireland supporters club

Zak Stewart from the Portavogie Northern Ireland supporters club

Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes had his family cheering him on during Friday nights Euro 2012 qualifier against Italy at Windsor Park.  Daughters Keira (6), Leila (4) pictured with mum Sam walked out with dad before the big game

Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes had his family cheering him on during Friday nights Euro 2012 qualifier against Italy at Windsor Park. Daughters Keira (6), Leila (4) pictured with mum Sam walked out with dad before the big game

©William Cherry / Presseye

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano

©William Cherry / Presseye

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle with Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano

©William Cherry / Presseye

Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle

Kyle Lafferty celebrates on the final whistle

©William Cherry / Presseye

Grant McCann battles Italy's Mattia Cassani

Grant McCann battles Italy's Mattia Cassani

Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty celebrate on the final whistle

Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty celebrate on the final whistle

©William Cherry / Presseye

Nigel Worthington celebrates on the final whistle

Nigel Worthington celebrates on the final whistle

©William Cherry / Presseye

Steven Davis of Northern Ireland gets past Andrea Pirlo of Italy

Steven Davis of Northern Ireland gets past Andrea Pirlo of Italy

Mike Hewitt

Stephen Craigan of Northern Ireland salutes the crowd

Stephen Craigan of Northern Ireland salutes the crowd

Mike Hewitt

Niall McGinn of Northern Ireland is challenged by Claudio Marchisio of Italy

Niall McGinn of Northern Ireland is challenged by Claudio Marchisio of Italy

Mike Hewitt

Claudio Marchisio of Italy controls the ball during the EURO 2012 Qualifier Group C match

Claudio Marchisio of Italy controls the ball during the EURO 2012 Qualifier Group C match

Mike Hewitt

Stefano Mauri of Italy and Chris Brunt of Northern Ireland compete during the Euro 2012 group C qualifying match

Stefano Mauri of Italy and Chris Brunt of Northern Ireland compete during the Euro 2012 group C qualifying match

Claudio Villa

Andrea Pirlo of Italy is challenged

Andrea Pirlo of Italy is challenged

Mike Hewitt

Warren Feeney of Northern Ireland challenges Giorgio Chiellini of Italy

Warren Feeney of Northern Ireland challenges Giorgio Chiellini of Italy

Mike Hewitt

Florian Solinas Newark who will be 9 tomorrow from Italy but who lives in Belfast receives his  complimentary tickets to tonight's International football match at Windsor park from Podium for Sport Director Paul

Florian Solinas Newark who will be 9 tomorrow from Italy but who lives in Belfast receives his complimentary tickets to tonight's International football match at Windsor park from Podium for Sport Director Paul

Stephen Craigan of Northern Ireland sees his cross stopped by the arm of Daniele De Rossi of Italy

Stephen Craigan of Northern Ireland sees his cross stopped by the arm of Daniele De Rossi of Italy

Mike Hewitt

Warren Feeney and Stefano Mauri (right)

Warren Feeney and Stefano Mauri (right)

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Northern Ireland's Steven Davis battles Italy's Andrea Pirlo

Grant McCann revealed that the Northern Ireland dressing room atmosphere was tinged with disappointment at last night's 0-0 draw with Italy.

Amazingly a scoreless battle with a country which has won the World Cup four times wasn't satisfactory to a group of players who have become used to toppling top sides at Windsor Park.

And even goalkeeper Maik Taylor — who kept a third competitive clean sheet in a row — was experiencing mixed emotions as only one point was garnered when three were desired.

“I sat in the dressing room with David Healy and he's really disappointed,” said Peterborough midfielder McCann.

“We could have been looking at three points. We created chances and worked hard to stop Italy from breaking us down.

“We tracked their runners and didn't give them room and restricted them to very few chances.

“There are a lot of positives for us to take from the game.

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“We've four points from two games which is very good at this stage and hopefully we can go to the Faroe Islands on Tuesday and make it seven.”

Taylor made two excellent stops as the game drew towards a close, which ensured the point was collected.

It meant that he was the hero of the night, with the strikers or midfielders unable to claim that honour.

“I thought we played very well and we got stronger as the game went on,” said Taylor.

“We'd have settled for a point before and it's a good result, but we could have won it and we'd a couple of chances to do that.

“Italy showed us great respect in the early part of the game and they played well. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we'd prepared for that.

“As far as we're concerned it's a job well done. A point is good, but in the last ten minutes we could have nicked it. Overall it was an excellent performance.”

If Taylor can keep another clean sheet in the Faroes then there is every chance that three points can be collected — and he doesn't care how they come.

“The performance doesn't matter in the Faroe Islands, it's all about getting three points.”


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