Northern Ireland Euro Hopes Dashed

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Northern Ireland are all but out of the running to qualify for Euro 2017 set to take place in the Netherlands next summer following their games this week.

Northern Ireland first faced Georgia at home, having beaten them 3-0 away earlier in the qualifying stages. It looked to be a win for the NI team with Georgia losing all their games so far, and it proved to be a comfortable 4-0 win for the home side. Honourable mention to Simone Magill of Everton Ladies who scored the fastest goal in women’s football history in just 11 seconds, beating out none other then Alex Morgan of the USWNT who set the record of 12 seconds. Former black cat Sarah McFadden was amongst the starting XI as was current SAFC midfielder Rachel Furness, who battled hard to get a goal near the end of the game to seal the result at an convincing 4-0, with Georgia not looking particularly dangerous throughout. This was a good result for NI and looked to give them some hope for their qualification.

They then went away to the Czech Republic, a match which looked to be more difficult but at least an even game as both teams entered the game on the same points. This was their first meeting in the group stages as their game in Ireland  earlier in the rounds had to be postponed to a later date. Once again Furness and McFadden started for the Northern Ireland side, but this time it was the opponents who took the early lead, scoring just 3 minutes in. The NI girls lost out in this one 3-0, unable to claim the back to back wins they needed.

It is still possible for the NI team to make it to the Euros, however it is rather unlikely as they remain in 4th spot; they would need to win their last 3 games and hope that both Czech republic and Italy lose both of theirs in order to put them 2nd place in the group and in a playoff spot. They will aim to pick up points in their last 3 games even if they do not qualify, in order to progress and become a stronger side, and we wish them all the best in that endeavour.

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