O’Neill expects to surprise

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill believes his side have 'everything to gain' at the European Championship finals next summer.

O'Neill's men have been drawn alongside Poland, Ukraine and Germany in Group C for the tournament in France and the Irish tactician believes that two factors could help his side make an impact.

He thinks his team may be under-estimated by some of their opponents, while he is also happy to be taking on World Cup holders Germany in their final group game, following clashes with Poland and then Ukraine.

He told BBC Sport: "There are a lot of positives we take into the tournament. We actually won our group, we didn't come through a play-off, people overlook that, and we go into this tournament with everything to gain.

"The most important thing is to try and take something from your first game. The fixtures maybe work in our favour, playing Poland and Ukraine before Germany, which might be the most demanding physically.

"I've not seen a lot of Ukraine, I know Poland and Germany a bit more of course. But we will do a lot of analysis so that in June we will be ready to play."

Northern Ireland can be backed at 5/2 to qualify from Group C, with Poland available at 3/10 and Ukraine 1/2.

They have never previously qualified for the European Championship finals, with their last World Cup finals appearance coming back in 1986.

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