EURO 2016 FINALS: Michael O’Neill believes Northern Ireland can qualify from tough group

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Saturday's draw in Paris
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Saturday's draw in Paris

Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill, believes the team can progress from a tough draw at the Euro Championships 2016 finals in France.

World champions Germany, Poland and Ukraine, will be Northern Irleand’s oppoents in Group C for the tournament in June.

Insisting Northern Ireland were not going just for the experience having not qualified for a major championship final in 30 years, O’Neill said: “Our focus is on being competitive and on finding a way out of the group.”

“I believe we are capable of taking points from Ukraine and Poland before we face Germany,” said O’Neill.

Northern Ireland, makign their debut at the Euro Championship finals, will face Poland in the opening game on June 12.

They will then meetin Poland on June 16 before taking on World champions Germany on June 21.

O’Neill said: “I think the most important thing is to take something from your first game.

“The fixtures may work in our favour in that we have Poland and Ukraine before we play Germany.

“We have three Premier League centre backs and they will relish the challenge of playing against Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski.

“We won our group - people tend to overlook that - and were the top scorers in our group.

“We have always done better against the bigger nations, like Russia and Portugal in our last World Cup group.”