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Northern Ireland treating Dutch games in qualification as playoffs

Ben Finnegan
Ben Finnegan

07:27 9 Oct 2019


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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill hopes the pressure on the Netherlands will tell tomorrow night when the two countries meet in Euro 2020 qualification.

The Green and White Army travel to Rotterdam in second place in Group C - three points ahead of the Oranje, and joint top with Germany, only behind on goal difference.

Northern Ireland got to their first major international tournament for 30 years in 2016 when they qualified for the European Championships.

"We're under no illusions how difficult the game will be. We are in a situation where, having spoken to the players, we are essentially in a playoff situation with Holland," said Michael O'Neill

We need to get four points out of that. They have a stronger position in that playoff because they got three points against Germany. That's the way we are going to have to approach this game and the game in Belfast.

"That's the job that's in front of us. It's not an easy task by any means but we know to give ourselves a chance in terms of automatic qualification, we have to try to take something from the game on Thursday night."

"The most important thing is that we'll stay in the game and make it as difficult as we can for the Netherlands.

"By doing that you'll hopefully create a little bit of doubt because it would be a big thing for Holland if they went three tournaments without qualification.

"There is a lot of expectation on this group of players. They are relatively young, I think Daley Blind is the most experienced player in the squad.

"We have to create a situation where the game is difficult, not only physically for Holland, but mentally as well."

After tomorrow night's game, Northern Ireland welcome the Netherlands to Belfast in November, while they will round-out their qualification action with a trip to Frankfurt on November 19th to take on 2014 world champions Germany.

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