Michael O'Neill: We deserved to beat Finland, says NI manager

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Michael O'Neill says Northern Ireland are moving closer to Euro 2016

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill said his side deserved their Euro 2016 qualifier victory over Finland after creating the better chances.

Kyle Lafferty scored twice in a 2-1 win over the Finns at Windsor Park to boost his side's hopes of qualification.

"Many aspects of our play were really pleasing. We showed real conviction to win the game and that shone through in the performance," said O'Neill.

"Qualifying is a realistic possibility but our next challenge is Romania."

The NI boss added that he knew how the visitors, managed by his good friend Mixu Paatelainen, would play, and acknowledged that his team had to concede a lot of the possession.

"We had to work hard when we didn't have the ball but we carved out the more clear-cut chances," he said.

"Kyle scored two fantastic goals from two quality crosses into the area and we could have had another if Chris Baird's header had not been ruled out for offside.

Northern Ireland's remaining Euro 2016 Group F qualifiers
Romania (home)Saturday, 13 June 2015
Faroe Islands (away)Friday, 4 September 2015
Hungary (home)Monday, 7 September 2015
Greece (home)Thursday, 8 October 2015
Finland (away)Sunday, 11 October 2015

"I'll have to check the rules but it seems strange to give offside in a situation like that. Thankfully we dealt with it and that gives an indication of the strength of this team.

"Jamie (Ward) forced a good save from their keeper and Niall [McGinn] was off-target when he perhaps should have done better, then we were disappointed to lose a goal at the end."

"Kyle has put a difficult year behind him and he's a big part of the squad. He's playing with bags of confidence and with a smile on his face."

Northern Ireland next face Group F leaders Romania in Belfast in June, with O'Neill calling for "a similar performance and a similar result" to that which proved enough to see off Finland.

"A win in that game would take us top of the group and we have our preparations laid out in front of us," explained O'Neill.

"Romania are an excellent team and we will have to be at our very best if we are to beat them, but we are well capable of doing it."

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 29th March 2015

View all European Championship Qualifying results

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Czech Rep5410116513
2Iceland54011221012
3Netherlands521211657
4Turkey512268-25
5Latvia5032211-93
6Kazakhstan5014413-91

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wales532072511
2Israel43019549
3Belgium4220121118
4Cyprus5203910-16
5Bos-Herze512256-15
6Andorra5005220-180

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Slovakia5500112915
2Spain54011431112
3Ukraine53026249
4Belarus5113410-64
5Macedonia5104512-73
6Luxembourg5014314-111

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland53201631311
2Germany531194510
3Scotland5311115610
4R. of Ireland522111478
5Georgia510449-53
6Gibraltar5005127-260

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England55001511415
2Slovenia530210469
3Switzerland530211389
4Lithuania5203310-76
5Estonia511315-44
6San Marino5014017-171

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Romania541071613
2Northern Ireland540184412
3Hungary52214318
4Finland511357-24
5Faroe Islands510427-53
6Greece502315-42

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Austria5410102813
2Sweden52307349
3Russia41216335
4Montenegro41213215
5Liechtenstein5113111-104
6Moldova501428-61

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia54101521313
2Italy532084411
3Norway530278-19
4Bulgaria512267-15
5Azerbaijan5104411-73
6Malta501419-81

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Portugal43014229
2Denmark42116427
3Albania421145-17
4Serbia41126601
5Armenia401336-31
View full European Championship Qualifying tables

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