Mar 29, 2011

Worthington upbeat over Euro bid

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But Worthington admits it needs a "lucky strike" for a nation of Northern Ireland's size to reach the finals of a major tournament.

"Italy are gone - they are top and there are three or four of us vying for second," said Worthington.

"Sometimes there's a lucky strike where you get through as a small country."

With Italy expected to run away with first place, Worthington's team are jostling with the likes of Slovenia and Serbia to finish as runners-up.

Northern Ireland have a mixed bag of results to show for their opening four qualifying games, with draws against Italy and Faroe Islands, plus a defeat in Serbia and a victory in Slovenia.

Tuesday night's match at Windsor Park could prove to be one of the key matches of the campaign.

"I said at the start of the campaign that the chasing pack will take points off each other and that has been the case so far," added the Northern Ireland boss.

"Of course I'd love to be 10 points clear at the top but we deal with the situation - we are where we are."

Meanwhile Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans has suggested that qualifying for Euro 2012 with Northern Ireland would rank as a bigger achievement than winning the Champions League with Manchester United.

Evans is a member of the United squad challenging for the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, and the 22-year-old claims they would have to take all three trophies to top taking Northern Ireland back onto the world stage.

"I think qualifying for a major tournament with Northern Ireland would sort of eclipse anything I could achieve with Manchester United, unless it was something like the treble, really cleaning up," said Evans.

"I do believe it's harder for us to qualify for a big tournament than it would be for Manchester United to win the Champions League or the Premier League."



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