Sunday 25 September 2016

O'Neill on...

Published 28/06/2016 | 02:30

Martin O'Neill: 'The backroom staff showed me one of those YouTube things of the nun on the train. The Irish fans singing 'Our Father, who art in heaven' to her. I think she was totally mesmerised and I think she's gone to heaven'
Martin O'Neill: 'The backroom staff showed me one of those YouTube things of the nun on the train. The Irish fans singing 'Our Father, who art in heaven' to her. I think she was totally mesmerised and I think she's gone to heaven'

Austria's struggles: The World Cup is a new competition. I spoke to some of their contingent last year and they were very, very hopeful. I was looking at a couple of their games and I thought they were strong. I thought they would do well.

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Personal Vindication

I started off with this thing, in terms of vindication, so you have to live and die by the things you say, so if I've been vindicated then fine. I thought the performances of the team cemented their relationship with the fans and, for me, that's the most important thing.

His Tournament Fancy

Belgium have as individually a talented side as there is. You look at France, they have Paul Pogba. What an athlete. What a player. I don't know how Manchester United could even think of arguing over his contract.

France will come out of this game with renewed hope, amazingly, having just beaten us. They will do. Because they'll feel their second-half performance justified them, they played very strongly.

I would say that has been their best performance in the competition. It's taken them into the quarter-final and they're at home. And there's a very decent chance that both UEFA and the French nation will combine so that they get 98pc of the support.

Signing Contract

My (old) contract officially ended a minute and half after the result, when we were out. I don't see it being an issue. I have agreed with John (Delaney) and I'd be happy to continue on if he still feels that way. Those conversations have mostly taken place.

Highs And Lows

I think the performance against Italy was fantastic; not winning the game against Sweden was actually a disappointment to me. It looked as if we'd spurned that.

We certainly did after Belgium, which was a disappointment. But there were far more highs than lows, and combining that with the crowd we had, the supporters we took, the humour they had, the stories coming back. . .

The backroom staff showed me one of those YouTube things of the nun on the train. The Irish fans singing 'Our Father, who art in heaven' to her. I think she was totally mesmerised and I think she's gone to heaven.

Different Options

Harry Arter immediately comes to mind, he wasn't able to make it through injury. Little Alan Judge played so strongly to get into the squad and then breaks his leg. We have things to look at and, who knows, in the course of the next tournament someone none of us have heard about could rise to the fore and be brilliant.

Irish Independent

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