"We can be competitive in the last 16" - Kyle Lafferty fancies Northern Ireland's chances in the next round

Michael O'Neill's side were confirmed their place to the next round after Turkey beat the Czech Republic

Kyle Lafferty, Northern Ireland

Image: Jonathan Brady / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty believes that his side can hold their own in the last 16 of the European Championships after securing their place in the knockout stages yesterday.

Despite a 1-0 defeat to world champions Germany yesterday, Turkey's victory over the Czech Republic was enough to see them through as one of the best third placed teams of the competition.

"We've probably got one of the best defences in the tournament," the striker said. "We've come up against world-class players and kept them relatively quiet. We've only conceded two goals in three games which isn't bad considering the players we've been up against.

"No matter who we come up against we'll fancy our chances. It's a one-off game now and I'm sure we'll go into it thinking we can get a victory." 

Northern Ireland's historic victory over the Ukraine proved vital to the team's progression and they now will face either Wales or France in the next round.

"We kept going until the 93rd minute against Germany because we knew 1-0 wasn't a bad result and it had a massive say in our goal difference. To leave with that result is something we can take a lot of positives from."

Goalkeeper Michael McGovern had a massive part in keeping the world champions to just the one-goal victory, pulling off a string of impressive saves to deny Mario Gomez, Thomas Mueller and Mario Götze.

Lafferty remains hopeful that he can play a big part in the rest of their campaign.

"I wanted to show I'm still hungry, I still want to play and I've still got a goal in me. I didn't get a chance but that had a lot to do with the team we were up against.

"Whoever we get in the next stage we'll need to put our strongest XI on the pitch and hopefully I'll be in it."