Germany beat Northern Ireland to top Group C

Updated: 2016-06-22 10:14


Germany beat Northern Ireland to top Group C

Mario Gomez of Germany in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 group C preliminary round match between Northern Ireland and Germany at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, June 21 2016. [Photo/IC]

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill said, "It's not in my nature to set the team up to lose 7-0. But we earned the right to be here and we'll have earned the right to be in the last 16 if we make it that far. I'm immensely proud that we are even playing here against the world champions in Paris."

He added, "I think the players will take an awful lot from the performance. We don't have any players in our squad that have played any European football, so when they step up the experience of playing against the level of opponent we have today can only help us.

O'Neill said at the post match press conference that he hoped the team could qualify.

"It was very difficult for us but we hung in there and defended great. Michael McGovern had a fantastic night and hopefully we have the opportunity now to play in the knockout stages."

Later when he learned they would not go home, he got excited.

"It's surreal," O'Neill told the BBC. "I'm not sure it's really sunk in yet, but it's a fantastic achievement.

"We knew the group would be difficult. What we saw tonight was a team that refused to be beaten by a big margin and did everything possible to stay in the game."

Asked whether he would rather face Wales or France, O'Neill added: "If I was picking a team I thought we had a better chance against I would say Wales, but we'll see who comes out after the final group games on Wednesday."