Belfast Telegraph

Battling Brunt faced six of Germany's best

 

By Paul Ferguson

Full-back Chris Brunt said Northern Ireland showed great strength in character against Germany on Thursday night as at one stage during the match the world champions had six players playing up front.

Northern Ireland lost the match 3-1 but the scoreline could have been much worse for Michael O'Neill's men if wasn't for some stubborn and resolute defending.

The men in green conceded a goal inside two minutes after a stunning strike from Sebastian Rudy but did not capitulate and indeed the second half, when O'Neill reverted to a back four and put another man in midfield, Northern Ireland were a threat and indeed were rewarded with a Josh Magennis goal in injury time.

"Germany deserved to win the game and for long periods we were under pressure," admitted the West Brom man. "Our game plan went out of the window when they scored after two minutes.

"However, we dug in well in the second and had a few decent chances considering all the possession they had. Conceding a third goal was a blow. It would have been a real kick in the teeth had we lost 3-0 so to score the goal right at the end was a boost.

"At one point in the game they had six players playing up front so you know you have your work cut out for you then.

"Goal difference hasn't been hit too badly and it was good for us to get a goal. Now our aim is put in a good performance against Norway and try and win the game."

Lee Hodson played alongside Brunt in a defensive back five during the first half but then was whipped off at half time to allow Stuart Dallas to add strength to the Northern Ireland midfield.

Rangers full-back Hodson said: "We definitely looked like more of a threat in the second half because of that tactical change, it gave us more opportunities to play forward when we did get the ball."

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