16/06/2016 Lyon Ukraine 2-0 Gareth McAuley, Niall McGinn
Michael McGovern, Aaron Hughes, Craig Cathcart, Gareth McAuley, Jonathan Evans, Corry Evans (Patrick McNair), Oliver Norwood, Jamie Ward (Niall McGinn), Steven Davis, Stuart Dallas, Conor Washington (John Magennis)
Northern Ireland defeated Ukraine to earn their first win in the European Championship Finals
West Brom defender Gareth McAuley headed in Oliver Norwood’s perfectly delivered free-kick before a hailstorm in Lyon forced the players off for two minutes.
When they returned, Niall McGinn finished a rebound in stoppage time to give Northern Ireland their first victory at a major tournament finals in 34 years.
Northern Ireland fans also remembered 24-year-old fan Darren Rodgers, who died in an accidental fall in Nice after the Poland match, with respectful applause in the 24th minute.
Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill: “We have given ourselves a great chance. It will take various permutations for us not to finish third. That gives us a shout at least. What we need to do is try to nick a point [against Germany]. We will let the players enjoy this and then the minds will switch to the Germans. It’s hard to put into words and absorb it all at this time. Everything good about Northern Ireland was in that stadium today.”
Goalscorer Gareth McAuley: “Nobody has given us a chance. Lots of people said we wouldn’t get a point. We weren’t at it against Poland – to our standards, the intensity we wanted to play at – but tonight was a lot better. It’s special to score, it’ll sink in probably over the next few days. We’ve got a tough game to look forward to now, and we’ve got something to play for – that’s what we wanted.”
* Trivia –
As well as winning for the first time at the European finals, Gareth McAuley became the second-oldest scorer at the Euros and Niall McGinn netted the latest ever goal at the tournament.