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Sunday 4 December 2016

Northern Ireland can progress out of Euro 2016 group, says Belarus boss

Published 26/05/2016 | 20:16

Northern Ireland will feature in their first European Championships next month
Northern Ireland will feature in their first European Championships next month

Belarus boss Alyaksandr Khatskevich believes Northern Ireland have an excellent chance to progress out of their Euro 2016 group.

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Khatskevich's side are the opponents for Michael O'Neill's squad on Friday night, but will not follow them to France next month having failed to progress from a qualification group that featured back-to-back European Championship winners Spain, Slovakia and Ukraine.

The latter are in Northern Ireland's group for the Euros, along with Poland and world champions Germany, and Khatskevich insists the three teams joining Die Mannschaft enter the tournament on equal footing.

"Germany is the favourite obviously but the other three teams are pretty equal," he said.

"Poland and Ukraine play a slightly different game but I would say those three teams have a shot at qualifying but it is going to depend on the condition of the players and how they prepare.

"As there is a possibility of three teams (qualifying from the group), all the teams have a shot."

Northern Ireland enter the game at Windsor Park boasting a record-breaking 10-match unbeaten run while Belarus have failed to concede in their past five games.

"The fact Northern Ireland haven't lost in 10 games speaks for itself," Khatskevich added.

"Every game is interesting in its own particular way. As far as our team is concerned we haven't conceded in five games so we have a shot at continuing this fine streak."

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