Windsor Park final step the Euro 2020 play-off prize for Northern Ireland

Irish Football Association chief executive Patrick Nelson has confirmed Michael O’Neill will remain in charge of the national side for the full Euro 2020 play-off commitment.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 4:30 pm

The UEFA draw has offered the opportunity for a final Windsor Park farewell next March for O’Neill against Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland - if successful in Bosnia during the semi-final.

And Nelson declared Northern Ireland “will be fully prepared” in pursuit of a slot at next summer’s finals.

It was felt the recent scoreless draw with Holland in Belfast would mark O’Neill’s last appearance as Northern Ireland manager on home soil following his move to take up the role of Stoke City boss.

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However, the Nyon draw has opened up the possibility of one closing goodbye.

“Our target is to make it to Euro 2020, that’s the one target,” Nelson told UEFA. “We had some great negotiations with Stoke City and with Michael and as part of Michael leaving the IFA we have agreed that Michael will be in charge for any play-off games.

“So, we’re looking forward to March 26, we’re hoping we make it to March 31 where we will have a home draw if we get to that point.

“We have to get past Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 26 and we’re delighted if we do that we’ve got a home final against either Slovakia or Republic of Ireland.

“We’re very experienced at hosting games at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.

“We’ll prepare very thoroughly both on the field and off the field - if we are hosting a game on March 31 it will be a great occasion.”