Belfast Telegraph

'We've come a long way': Northern Ireland fans heap praise on players after Germany defeat

By Ian Cahoon

The Green And White Army have shared Michael O'Neill's frustration that Monday's 2-0 defeat to Germany was an opportunity missed.

The atmosphere inside Windsor Park was electric for the much-anticipated arrival of the 2014 World Cup winners.

There was also a growing sense of belief that a result could be achieved against Joachim Low's side, who came into the encounter on the back of a 4-2 defeat to the Netherlands.

That belief looked to be well founded when the home side came racing out of the traps.

However, goals at either end of the second half ensured that it was Germany who finished the evening at the top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group C.

Bangor man Aaron Kernohan said: "I feel we deserved something from that game. The pressing game was incredible but so intense that I felt we couldn't keep it going for the 90 minutes.

"I thought Gavin Whyte did a great job when he came on and Stuart Dallas was superb - nobody really had a bad game.

"We've come a long way when losing to Germany disappoints so badly."

Tim Gaston was also left to rue the chances missed, with Conor Washington going so close twice in the first period and Dallas seeing his second-half effort drift inches wide of the post.

"I think we were a natural goalscorer away from taking something from the game," he said. "We had more chances in this game than the last three games against Germany put together - really good chances too.

"When you look at it, it was a different sort of game than when we played them at the Euros and in the last qualifying campaign.

"At the end of the day, though, if you don't take the sort of chances we created against the likes of Germany, you're going to suffer the inevitable, and we unfortunately did."

As the dust settled on the night, James Carson was also full of praise for the 18,326-strong crowd inside Windsor.

He added: "The crowd really responded to the plea to be in early and make noise, I think the atmosphere was as good as I've heard it at Windsor.

"It looked like the team responded, because they pressed and harried and upset them brilliantly.

"I also thought Bailey Peacock-Farrell was immense, if he keeps that up he'll be the Northern Ireland goalkeeper for the next 10 years. It's easy to forget he's so young."

Looking ahead, with trips to Germany and the Netherlands still to come, as well as welcoming the Dutch to Belfast, Mark Anderson knows it's going to be a big ask to finish in the top two now.

"It felt a wee bit like Monday night was our chance to take the one big result we needed, but you never know," he said.

"The away games against the two big nations will be really tough, but if we can play like that against the Dutch at home we'll have a chance.

"We made a proper contest of it and you can't ask for much more than that."

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