European Championship Qualifying
Faroe IslandsFaroe Islands1Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland3

Euro 2016: Faroe Islands 1-3 Northern Ireland

By Lyle JacksonBBC Sport
Gareth McAuley scored two headers against the Faroe Islands
Northern Ireland have five wins from seven Group F fixtures

Northern Ireland are top of Group F and on the brink of Euro 2016 qualification after beating the 10-man Faroe Islands.

Michael O'Neill's men took an early lead when Gareth McAuley headed in but the Faroes levelled before half-time through Joan Simun Edmundsson.

Northern Ireland struggled until Edmundsson was sent off in the 64th minute for a second bookable offence.

McAuley stooped to nod in his second goal and Kyle Lafferty got his sixth of the campaign 15 minutes from the end.

On the brink of history

Group F

With Romania being held 0-0 in Hungary, Northern Ireland take over as leaders of the group with three fixtures left.

Michael O'Neill's men host the Hungarians on Monday and victory in Belfast would seal qualification for next summer's finals in France.

It would be the country's first appearance in the European Championship finals, at the 14th attempt.

This was Northern Ireland's third away win of the qualifying campaign, having struggled after losing their lead to a team that included a carpenter, a magazine editor and a teacher.

Red card - the big turning point

Northern Ireland had been in real danger of dropping two costly points until Edmundsson's dismissal for sliding in late on Norwood.

The best moves by the Faroes had gone through the impressive 24-year-old.

The visitors lacked ideas and penetration but, when handed the numerical advantage, they went on to secure a vital win.

Like his first goal, McAuley's second was not a towering header, rather a stooped effort from close in.

Striker Lafferty, lacking game time at Norwich, again rewarded O'Neill's faith by turning to shoot in the third from close-range.

Man of the match - NI's Gareth McAuley

Gareth McAuley now has seven goals for Northern Ireland
It is difficult to argue with the choice of the player who scored Northern Ireland's first two goals. The experienced West Bromwich Albion defender is a real rock in the Northern Ireland team and now has seven international goals

Manager reaction

Northern Ireland's Michael O'Neill: "I thought it was a great team performance and we showed how much set pieces are a strength for us. We try to make out opponents defend.

"We simply have to get over the line now and we want to do it on Monday night.

Michael O'Neill's side top Group F with 16 points from seven games

"We seem to have come through unscathed and it would be fantastic if we could do it in front of our own fans at Windsor Park.

"This group of players has really developed over the past couple of years and it would be a magnificent achievement.

"There are some great players who deserve to get to a finals - Aaron Hughes has 97 caps, he wasn't in the side tonight but still came from Australia to be part of this squad."

What next?

Monday is set to be a special occasion at Windsor Park. The rebuilding work at the Belfast ground may not yet be complete, but Northern Ireland can finish their job by clinching qualification with victory over Hungary.

Michael O'Neill's men need three points from three matches - but they want to do it at the first attempt in front of their own supporters.

After Hungary, NI host Greece on 8 October and finish away to Finland three days later.

The stats you need to know

Northern Ireland's last two Euro campaigns
  • Northern Ireland have never reached the final stages of a European Championship
  • Their last successful campaign was when Billy Bingham's team got to the 1986 World Cup
  • Gareth McAuley has scored seven goals for Northern Ireland - all in competitive games
  • Northern Ireland are the leading scorers in Group F with 11 goals - Kyle Lafferty with six of them
  • Monday's match against Hungary is on the 10th anniversary of NI's famous Windsor Park win over Sven-Goran Eriksson's England


Faroe Islands

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Nielsen
  • 2Thór Naes
  • 15Faero
  • 5Nattestad
  • 9Sorensen
  • 14Vatnhamar
  • 7BenjaminsenSubstituted forBaldvinssonat 87'minutes
  • 8Hendriksson OlsenSubstituted forOlsenat 83'minutes
  • 6HanssonBooked at 70mins
  • 10HolstSubstituted forJustinussenat 76'minutes
  • 11EdmundssonBooked at 64mins


  • 3Frederiksberg
  • 12Matras Gestsson
  • 13Justinussen
  • 16Olsen
  • 17Baldvinsson
  • 18Jacobsen
  • 19Bartalsstovu
  • 20Joensen
  • 21Justinussen
  • 22Jacobsen
  • 23Thomsen

Northern Ireland

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1McGovern
  • 2McLaughlinBooked at 22minsSubstituted forMagennisat 69'minutesBooked at 72mins
  • 4McAuley
  • 5Evans
  • 11BruntSubstituted forFergusonat 83'minutes
  • 8Davis
  • 6Baird
  • 7McGinn
  • 16Norwood
  • 14Dallas
  • 10LaffertySubstituted forMcNairat 78'minutes


  • 3Ferguson
  • 9Grigg
  • 12Carroll
  • 13Evans
  • 15McCourt
  • 17McNair
  • 18Hughes
  • 19Mckay
  • 20Cathcart
  • 21Magennis
  • 22Boyce
  • 23Mannus
Felix Zwayer

Match Stats

Home TeamFaroe IslandsAway TeamNorthern Ireland
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Faroe Islands 1, Northern Ireland 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Faroe Islands 1, Northern Ireland 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Patrick McNair (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Oliver Norwood.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Hallur Hansson (Faroe Islands) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right from a direct free kick.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Patrick McNair (Northern Ireland).

  6. Post update

    Hallur Hansson (Faroe Islands) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Faroe Islands. Rógvi Baldvinsson replaces Fródi Benjaminsen.

  8. Post update

    Chris Baird (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Pol Johannus Justinussen (Faroe Islands).

  10. Post update

    Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Gunnar Nielsen.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Steven Davis with a through ball.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Shane Ferguson replaces Chris Brunt.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Faroe Islands. Kaj Bartalsstovu replaces Brandur Olsen.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Stuart Dallas (Northern Ireland).

  15. Post update

    Jónas Thór Naes (Faroe Islands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Sonni Nattestad (Faroe Islands).

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Northern Ireland. Patrick McNair replaces Kyle Lafferty.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland).

  20. Post update

    Brandur Olsen (Faroe Islands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.