03/06/1986 Guadalajara Algeria 1-1 Norman Whiteside
Pat Jennings, Jimmy Nicholl, Mal Donaghy, John O’Neill, Alan McDonald, David McCreery, Norman Whiteside (Colin Clarke), Nigel Worthington, Billy Hamilton, Sammy McIlroy, Steve Penney (Ian Stewart)
Although not underestimating the threat that Algeria posed, especially after they had defeated West Germany by 2-1 in the 1982 tournament, manager Bingham privately knew that this was a must win game if Northern Ireland were to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
The team were based in the city of Guadalajara and played their first game in the Tres de Marzo stadium. Norman Whiteside gave Northern Ireland a dream start with a deflected goal after 6 minutes. Djamel Zidane scored a fortuitous equaliser on the hour mark to give the African side a share of the spoils.
“… when it came to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico I felt that, despite having peaked in Spain and just afterwards, we might still have a chance. I backed my hunch although we had not the corps of players coming behind – no depth. We had squeezed the orange dry. There was nothing more to come out of it.”
“I saw something moving through all the shrubbery near our appartment in Mexico so I called Gerry Armstrong over. This animal must have been about four feet long and had teeth like razors and a big pointed snout. ‘Can we catch it?’ Gerry could speak Spanish so he got over the security guard, who caught the animl and we tied a sock tie around the thing’s mouth.”
“Then we opened the patio next door where Martin O’Neill, Norman Whiteside and all the boys were playing cards and lobbed the animal across the table. It sent all the money and cards everywhere and landed in Norman Whiteside’s lap. Martin was on top of a wardrobe by that time and Norman was pinned up against the wall by this animal!”
Sammy McIlroy on the death of his mother Essie aged just 63:
“When I found out I was obviously devasted. Jimmy Nicholl came into my room and said, ‘Come on Mac, tonight we’re going for a drink.’ There was so much security around the hotel that, as far as I was concerned, you just couldn’t get out. But Jimmy had somehow managed to find this hole in a fence and there was a hotel not to far away so me, him and Norman Whiteside went there and the three of us got absolutely bladdered. We didn’t say a lot to be fair that night. They got me back to the hotel and I got the early flight back the next morning.”