October 19, 2015

Northern Ireland national team – starting line-up (Best XI) from match which clinched their qualification for the 2016 UEFA Euros in France. (Northern Ireland starting squad from 8 October 2015: Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece. Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, att: 11,700).

Filed under: Northern Ireland — admin @ 8:51 pm

-Article on Northern Ireland clinching…Northern Ireland reaching Euro 2016 feels like the glory days of 1982, (by Henry McDonald at on 8 Oct. 2015).
-Team…Northern Ireland national football team.
-Country…Northern Ireland (

    Northern Ireland national team – the Northern Ireland national team has qualified for the UEFA Euros [France, 2016] for the first time…and have now qualified for a major tournament for the first time in 30 years (previous: had qualified for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain & had qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico)…

By Bill Turianski on 19 October 2015;
Demographics of Northern Ireland
Size of Northern Ireland:
14,130 km-sq (or 5,456 K square miles). Northern Ireland is similar to the size of the state of Connecticut in the USA. And Northern Ireland is [about the equivalent of] the ~166th-largest country by area, placing them between Brunei and Trinidad & Tobago (that is, if Northern Ireland were an independent nation, as opposed to what they are [a constituent state of the United Kingdom]).
{Sources: Northern Ireland;
List of countries and dependencies by area;
List of U.S. states and territories by area.}

Population of Northern Ireland:
around 1.8 million {2015 estimate}. Northern Ireland is [about the equivalent of] the ~155th-most-populous country, placing them between Kosovo and Gabon (that is, if Northern Ireland were an independent nation, as opposed to what they are [a constituent state of the United Kingdom]). {Source: List of countries and dependencies by population.}

Capital & largest city:
Belfast, city population: about 333,000 {2015 estimate}. Greater Belfast metro-area population: about 579,000 {2001 estimate}.

Economic profile of Northern Ireland: see this chart, Profile of Northern Ireland (

Northern Ireland won Group F of the 2016 UEFA Euros qualifiers, beating out Romania, Hungary, Finland, Faroe Islands, and Greece…
Northern Ireland’s top-scorer in the qualifiers was Kyle Lafferty, who cannot even get onto the starting squad for his pro club, Norwich City (and he had been loaned out to Turkish 1st division minnows Çaykur Rizespor for the second-half of last season). But Lafferty sure was banging ‘em into the net for Northern Ireland all through the qualifiers. The 28-year-old Lafferty scored 7 goals in 9 matches in the 2016 UEFA Euros qualifiers (and led Group F in scoring). However, Lafferty had to sit out the crucial 9th match, after he amassed his 3rd yellow card in the 8th match (when Northern Ireland drew 1-1 with Hungary at Windsor Park in Belfast, on 7 September 2015). So in the 9th match, versus Greece at the temporarily-11.7-K-capacity Windsor Park, on the 8th of October, Josh Magennis filled in as the lone Striker (and scored; a brief match-report for the clinching 9th match can be found 3 paragraphs below, in the Steven Davis section).
Photo credit above – unattributed at

Coach of Northern Ireland:
Michael O’Neill. Michael O’Neill.
Age 46, born 5 July 1969, in Portadown, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, UK.
CV – as a player (MF), from 1984 to 2004: Coleraine (N.I.), Newcastle Utd, Dundee Utd, Hibernian, Coventry City, Aberdeen, Reading, Wigan Athletic, St Johnstone, Portland Timbers (USA), Clydebank (Sco.), Glentoran (N.I.), Ayr Utd (Sco.). Retired as player in 2004. Pro clubs managed: Brechin City (Sco.) from 2006-08, Shamrock Rovers (Ire.) from 2009-11. Hired as the head coach of the Northern Ireland national team in December 2011. In October 2015, O’Neill’s Northern Ireland team secured qualification to a major tournament for the first time in 30 years by winning Group F of the 2016 UEFA Euros qualifiers.

Squad captain:
Steven Davis. Steven Davis.
Age 30, born 1 Jan. 1985, in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Appearances for Northern Ireland national team: 78 app/ 7 goals.
Steven Davis had a very solid 2016 UEFA Euros group-stage qualifications, and at least one person in the blogosphere put Davis on the 2016 Euros qualifiers Best XI…{see this, European Qualifiers All-Star team ( via, thread, here)}. Steven Davis plays club football for Southampton. Davis is a CMF who usually works in a defensive-midfielder capacity, whether it be for the Hampshire, England-based side, or for the Northern Ireland team.

Despite being essentially a defensive-midfielder, Steven Davis has the ability to come through and score in the clutch, as he did versus Greece, at Windsor Park on 8 October 2015, when Northern Ireland were without their top-scorer and talisman, Kyle Lafferty. In the match versus Greece, which secured Northern Ireland’s qualification for the 2016 Euros tournament, Steven Davis scored a brace, the first via a deft slotted pass from Blackburn MF Corry Evans to Leeds United MF/Winger Stuart Dallas, who then set Davis up for a close-range finish. The second goal for Northern Ireland came early in the 2nd half (49′), from substitute-Striker Josh Magennis (of Kilmarnock), on a looping header from a corner kick taken by Oliver Norwood (of Reading). Steven Davis then got his brace 9 minutes later (58′), also on a header-from-a-corner – this one taken by West Bromwich MF Chris Brunt (one of 2 Baggies in the starting squad that day). And then the unheralded-yet-capable Northern Irish defense held Greece up to the 86th minute, when Christos Aravidis made it 3-1. But that was too little too late for Greece – the 2004 European champions – who finished last in Group F, behind even the plucky Faroe Islands. And now, all that is left is for the Northern Ireland team to do is to book their flights to France for June 2016. Here’s hoping the 2016-Euros-Q-playoffs-bound Ireland national team finds a way to France, as well.

Below – the Northern Ireland squad that clinched qualification for the 2016 Euros
(8 October 2015/ Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece. Windsor Park, Belfast; attendance, 11,700.)
Photo and Image credits above -
Blank map of United Kingdom, by Daniel Dalet at
Blank map of Ireland [segment], by NordNordWest/Maximilian Dörrbecker, at File:Island of Ireland location map.svg (
Photo of Josh Mageniss and rest of NI squad rushing to congratulate coach O’Neill after clinching qualification to the 2016 Euros [on 8 Oct. 2015), photo unattributed at
2015 NI jersey, photo unattributed at
2015 NI kit crest, from
Squad -

Michael McGovern, GK (Hamilton Academical), photo by Gary Hutchison/SNS Group via
Paddy McNair, CB/RB/DM (Manchester United) photo by Getty Images via
Gareth McAuley, CB/ MF (West Bromwich Albion) photo by
Craig Cathcart, CB (Watford), photo by Kevin Affleck at
Chris Brunt, LM/AMF/LB (West Bromwich Albion), photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe via
Central MF/Holding Midfielder,
Steven Davis, CMF/AMF (Southampton), photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe via
Jamie Ward, LW/RW/FW (Nottingham Forest), photo by Jan Kruger at
Corry Evans, MF (Blackburn Rovers), photo by
Oliver Norwood, AMF/DMF (Reading), photo by Martin Willetts at
Stuart Dallas, AMF/LW, photo by Nigel Roddis at
Josh Magennis, FW (Kilmarnock), photo by
Other player-options (incl. regular starter at FW, Kyle Lafferty, who was suspended for the 8 Oct. 2015 match)…
Kyle Lafferty, FW/W (Norwich City), photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe via
Liam Boyce, FW (Ross County), photo by Ken Macpherson at
Niall McGinn, RW/LW/CF (Aberdeen), photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images Europe via
Luke McCullough, CB/RB (Doncaster Rovers), photo from

Thanks to all at the following links -
-Northern Ireland national team (
-Special thanks to the very excellent site called – for their unerring ability to describe most any footballers position(s). rules.

Powered by WordPress