Euro 2020 qualifiers: NI boss Michael O'Neill bemoans 'missed opportunity' against Germany

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‘We gave everything we had’ – O’Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says his side paid the price for not scoring during an impressive first-half display against Germany at Windsor Park.

The hosts were unable to carry their momentum into the second half as Germany rallied to secure a 2-0 win.

The victory sees the Germans leapfrog O'Neill's side at the top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group C.

"It's probably a missed opportunity to be honest," reflected O'Neill.

"We played excellently in the first half, limited Germany to very little, disrupted their play and had three really good chances, none of which we took unfortunately.

"You need to take at least one of them, you need to go ahead when you are having a good period in a game and we didn't."

In front of a raucous crowd, Northern Ireland were seeking their fifth win in as many qualifying games.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell
Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell kept Northern Ireland within touching distance in a busy second half

Hearts striker Conor Washington was guilty of spurning two golden opportunities as the hosts' energetic press appeared to fluster Germany.

However, the 2014 World Cup winners found their rhythm in the second half and indeed could have left Belfast with a bigger win had it not been for a series of excellent saves by Bailey Peacock Farrell between goals from Marcel Halstenberg and Serge Gnabry.

"Where our players are playing relative to where the German players are playing, there is a massive gap there for a some of our players," said O'Neill.

"It's a massive jump when they come here and play in this type of game.

Euro 2020 qualifying group C
1. Germany54011112
2. Northern Ireland5401312
3. Netherlands430199
4. Belarus5104-73
5. Estonia5005-160

"At times I think that showed, not in terms of our effort or anything like that, just at times in terms of our quality and our game intelligence at times.

"We could have been a little bit better and that's the difference I suppose when you step up you play against players that make the right decisions more often than not."

Northern Ireland face the Netherlands in back-to-back fixtures before concluding their qualifying campaign against Germany in Frankfurt on 19 November.

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