Northern Ireland

Euro 2016: Martin McGuinness 'looking forward' to attending his first Northern Ireland match

Martin McGuinness
Image caption Martin McGuinness described the prospect of seeing Northern Ireland play Germany as 'tantalising'

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said he is looking forward to attending his first Northern Ireland football match when the team take on Germany in Euro 2016 on Tuesday.

He will be in France to watch the Northern Ireland game and the Republic of Ireland play Italy on Wednesday.

Northern Ireland could qualify for the next round with a draw.

Mr McGuinness said it was "an opportunity to reach out the hand of friendship".

He told Good Morning Ulster that while he did not know the words to fan-favourite chant 'Will Grigg's On Fire', he was confident of getting a good response from Northern Ireland fans.

Image copyright Clive Brunskill
Image caption Northern Ireland could qualify for the next round of Euro 2016 with a draw against Germany

"I just met a large group of fans here at the airport from the Northern Ireland fans club, and they were all looking photographs," he said.

"So, if that's a barometer of where people's thoughts are at, it should be grand."

"I do believe that sport has a unifying effect," he added.

"The reports back from France have clearly shown that the fans of both Irish teams have been very, very well appreciated and well received.

"Also the fact that they have come together whenever they meet each other on the street, it's very heartwarming that people appreciate how unifying sport can be for all of us."

Mr McGuinness also said that while he had been to Windsor Park for football matches he had never seen Northern Ireland.

"As a very keen sports fan and soccer fan, I am looking forward to these games.

"It's tantalising given Michael O'Neill's team are playing against Germany, the world champions, and Italy, who were described as no-hopers before the competition, have now developed into one of the favourites."

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