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Euro 2022: Everything you need to know about Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland Euro 2022 group stage fixtures

Read more about Norway, Austria and England by clicking on the team's name.

How they qualified


Northern Ireland beat Ukraine 4-1 on aggregate in the play-offs, winning 2-1 in Kovalivka and then 2-0 in Belfast.

Major tournament record

European Championship

Never previously qualified.

FIFA World Cup

Never previously qualified.

Northern Ireland at Euro 2022: Can the debutants spring a surprise?

A huge summer awaits for Northern Ireland who will make their major tournament debut having qualified in dramatic circumstances.

First, thanks largely to a 94th minute equaliser in Newport, they finished second in their group, pipping Wales by virtue of head-to-head away goals.

Then, back in April 2021, the Green and White Army made history, thanks to a 4-1 victory over Ukraine in the play-offs.

Rachel Furness and Simone Magill were on target in Kovalivka, before Marissa Callaghan and Nadene Caldwell secured the aggregate win back in Belfast.

This achievement can't be overstated because, even now, they're ranked 47 in the world; the next lowest side to have qualified are Portugal in 30th.

Subsequently, last September, the IFA announced that the whole squad would go professional, in order to best prepare them for this tournament.

Nevertheless, recent results against fellow-qualifiers emphasises Northern Ireland's rank-outsider status at these Euros.

In World Cup qualifying, they've faced England twice this season, beaten 4-0 at Wembley and then 5-0 at Windsor Park last April.

They were also beaten 3-1 in Wiener Neustadt although, when Austria then visited Seaview, Northern Ireland were only denied victory by a stoppage time equaliser.

In Group A, they'll take on both England and Austria again, after kicking off against former world champions Norway.

Experienced manager Kenny Shiels is still in charge of the team, despite some serious controversy following that England game in the spring.

Shiels stated that "women are more emotional than men" leading to many calling for him to resign, but this did not materialise.

In short, it's a miracle that Northern Ireland are at this tournament, so are expected to finish rock bottom of this group without so much as a point to their name.

Key players: Julie Nelson

At the age of 37, veteran defender Julie Nelson will get the chance to represent he country at a major international tournament.

Nelson was probably at the peak of her powers around eight years ago, enjoying a brief spell at Everton before winning five trophies with Glasgow City.

Theres days, she's back with Crusaders Strikers as captain, one of 16 squad members who ply their trade in the domestic league.

Given that, Nelson has massively benefited from the IFA's financial commitment to turn all their domestic-based internationals full-time this season.

Having started 38 of Northern Ireland's last 39 internationals, accumulating 125 caps in total, she'll continue to be a key figure.

Key players: Rachel Furness

Probably Northern Ireland's most-talented player is attacking-midfielder Rachel Furness.

She's spent the last three seasons with Liverpool, helping them win the FA Women's Championship title this season, securing top-flight promotion.

In 21 Championship and FA Cup appearance, Furness scored five goals and provided seven assists, only missing three games all season.

However, it's for her country where she's really shone.

Furness scored five times during European Championship qualifying, including the crucial opener in the play-off first leg win Ukraine.

More recently, in World Cup qualifying, she's netted seven times in eight appearance, five of which came in drubbings against North Macedonia.

Here, against the crème de la crème of European football, can Furness provide more crucial contributions for her country?

Key players: Simone Magill

If Northern Ireland are to score a goal at this tournament, Simone Magill is the most likely player to provide it.

So far, she's netted 21 times for her country, including in the win in Ukraine, as well as five times in the ongoing World Cup qualification cycle.

At club level, she's been playing in England's top-tier this season, the FAWSL, this season, helping Everton avoid relegation.

Although, she did only score twice for the Toffees during the campaign, most recently netting against Leicester way back in November.

However, in February, Magill did bag a brace in an international friendly draw with fellow Euro finalists Switzerland in San Pedro Alcántara.

So, back in a green shirt, can she step forward and score Northern Ireland's first-ever major tournament goal?

Northern Ireland possible starting line-up for Euro 2022

Northern Ireland's full squad for Euro 2022

Goalkeepers

Defenders

Midfielders

Forwards

UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Group A table:


Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".



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