Jonny Evans insists Northern Ireland have belief they can attain a positive result tonight against Germany, even if a “perfect” performance may be required in Hanover.
Michael O’Neill’s side have enjoyed a period of huge success of late, piecing together a record 12-match unbeaten sequence earlier this year en route to their first major tournament in 30 years.
In France this summer, Northern Ireland reached the last 16 of the European Championship after coming through a group including Germany, who they lost 1-0 to in Paris.
That has fostered a belief among the team that they are capable of securing results previously thought unfathomable and a change in attitude has Evans thinking a point or more against the reigning World Cup holders is not out of the question.
“I think in the past we’d have gone to Germany and sort of just surrendered but I don’t think we’ll do that,” the West Brom defender said.
“We will go there with the belief that we can get something and I think that’s a big indication of how far Northern Ireland have come in recent times. They will know they will be in for a hard game.
“They dominated the play at the Euros but they raised their game and hopefully we can catch them on an off-night.”
The trouble Northern Ireland encountered in their defeat in Paris stemmed from many sources, with Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels playing diagonal balls, Toni Kroos dictating play in the centre and Joshua Kimmich, a debutant that night, and fellow full-back Jonas Hector playing as wingers.
“The Germans are one of the best teams we’ve played in a long, long time,” Evans conceded. “People always wonder why Germany are so good but the way they controlled the game against us, the timing of the pass, the angles they play at, they never let us get near the ball.
“So it’s very difficult and it takes a lot of time for a team to understand how to play against a side like that.
“We will have to play almost the perfect game, we will have to defend - they know they will have a lot of possession - but hope that on the break we can put the ball in the box and make more of an opportunity from them.”
Meanwhile, the affable German defender Mats Hummels was in a jovial mood ahead of the contest, pointing out that the travelling Green and White Army might be able to lift their team with a ditty that the Bayern defender fell in love with at the Euros.
“In terms of the Northern Ireland fans, the fans have one huge advantage over our supporters in that we do not have a ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’ type of song,” he noted.