2018 World Cup: NI boss O'Neill happy with Prague point

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NI manager Michael O'Neill satisfied with display against Czech Republic

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill was pleased to come away with a scoreless draw in the opening World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic.

The hosts dominated in a dour game as Northern Ireland played their first match since the Euro 2016 finals.

"I'm happy with a point - we showed great spirit when they put us under pressure in the second half," he said.

"The first half was good and we broke on the counter-attack but our final ball or run was disappointing."

Northern Ireland rarely threatened in a disjointed and sluggish display and only poor finishing from the Czechs saw O'Neill's side make an unbeaten start in Group C.

Fitness concerns

O'Neill is on course to achieve an early points target but he is concerned that some of his players are missing out on first-team club action.

"We said at the outset that we want seven points from our first four qualifiers," O'Neill told Sky Sports.

"This sets us on our way and we have to win our home games against San Marino and Azerbaijan.

"It showed in the second half that three or four players have not been playing club football.

Kyle Lafferty attempts an overhead kick on a frustrating night for the Northern Ireland forward
Kyle Lafferty attempts an overhead kick on a frustrating night for the Northern Ireland forward

"It would be great if we had players who were playing on a regular basis."

This group includes Norwich City striker Kyle Lafferty, who struggled to make an impact and was substituted before the hour mark.

Jonny Evans was Northern Ireland's top performer in Prague, with the West Brom defender a formidable barrier against the Czechs.

"I'm satisfied to get a draw from the game - they had a lot of pressure near the end and we battled hard to keep a clean sheet," said Evans.

"You could see the effort we put in throughout the side and it's always important to take something from the opening game."

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 4th September 2016

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belarus00000000
2Bulgaria00000000
3France00000000
4Luxembourg00000000
5Netherlands00000000
6Sweden00000000

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Andorra00000000
2Faroe Islands00000000
3Hungary00000000
4Latvia00000000
5Portugal00000000
6Switzerland00000000

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany11003033
2Azerbaijan11001013
3Czech Rep10100001
4Northern Ireland10100001
5San Marino100101-10
6Norway100103-30

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Austria00000000
2Georgia00000000
3Moldova00000000
4R. of Ireland00000000
5Serbia00000000
6Wales00000000

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark11001013
2Kazakhstan10102201
3Poland10102201
4Montenegro10101101
5Romania10101101
6Armenia100101-10

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Scotland11005143
2England11001013
3Lithuania10102201
4Slovenia10102201
5Slovakia100101-10
6Malta100115-40

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Albania00000000
2Israel00000000
3Italy00000000
4Liechtenstein00000000
5Macedonia00000000
6Spain00000000

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium00000000
2Bos-Herze00000000
3Cyprus00000000
4Estonia00000000
5Gibraltar00000000
6Greece00000000

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia00000000
2Finland00000000
3Iceland00000000
4Kosovo00000000
5Turkey00000000
6Ukraine00000000
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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