NI v Czech Republic

“It’s been a good campaign so far, probably as good as we realistically could have hoped for,” said Hearts striker Lafferty. “Before a ball was kicked I think everyone expected Germany to win the group, which is understandable as they are the holders. “We targeted second place. Given what we achieved in the qualifiers for the Euros and then making the knockout stages there was no reason to believe we were one campaign wonders.” He explained there was a real belief in the squad that Euro 2016 was never going to be a one-off and he says the squad have “given ourselves a chance”.

The forward added: “We all know that one second-placed team in the nine groups will miss out on a play-off but there’s no point in looking that far ahead just yet. “The big aim for us is to secure second and then we’ll start to look at the table of second-placed teams. Until that’s done we have to focus on the games in hand. “The experiences of the last campaign will certainly help everyone. We’ve gone to potentially tricky places like the Faroes and won and then we came from behind to get what turned out to be a massive point at home to Hungary.”


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