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Northern Ireland's World Cup dream will be over before it's even started if cheap goals continue to be conceded

Steven Beacom


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Both Domenico Berardi (above) and Ciro Immobile's goals were disappointing ones to concede for Northern Ireland's shaky defence.

Both Domenico Berardi (above) and Ciro Immobile's goals were disappointing ones to concede for Northern Ireland's shaky defence.

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Both Domenico Berardi (above) and Ciro Immobile's goals were disappointing ones to concede for Northern Ireland's shaky defence.

The last time Northern Ireland kept a clean sheet was at home to Netherlands in November 2019 when no one had ever heard of Covid. Our lives had not been taken over by lockdowns, zoom meetings and home schooling and wearing masks was for Batman, not me and you going into shops.

Stopping a quality Italy side from scoring in the opening World Cup qualifier was always going to be a tough task but when you gift goals like Ian Baraclough’s side did in Parma, that’s simply not good enough at this level.

For all of Northern Ireland’s attacking endeavours in the second half when driven on by captain Steven Davis - they showed adventure and ambition - the damage had been done before the break, conceding goals that should have been avoided.


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