Northern Ireland announce Belfast friendly against Latvia

NI defender Jonny Evans challenges Latvia's Andrejs Rubins in the Euro 2008 qualifier in Riga
NI defender Jonny Evans challenges Latvia's Andrejs Rubins in the Euro 2008 qualifier in Riga

Northern Ireland will take on Latvia at Windsor Park on 13 November as they start preparations for Euro 2016.

Latvia finished bottom of their qualifying group for the finals while Northern Ireland won Group F.

"Latvia will provide us with a good test - they had some impressive results in what was a difficult group," said manager Michael O'Neill.

"It's a chance for us to start building momentum for our first ever appearance at the European Championship finals."

Northern Ireland qualified for a major tournament for the first time in 30 years thanks to an impressive campaign which included just one defeat in 10 games.

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A 1-1 draw against Finland in Helsinki a fortnight ago ensured Northern Ireland became the first team from pot five - the set of fifth-seeded teams - to win a European Championships qualifying group.

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "While the celebrations with more than two thousand travelling Northern Ireland fans in Helsinki were fantastic, we are hoping this will be an even bigger celebration in Belfast.

"It will allow thousands more fans to say well done to Michael and the team on their incredible success in the qualifying campaign."

Northern Ireland have won four of the six meetings with Latvia, who secured a 1-0 victory in the last encounter in 2007.

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