Northern Ireland team profile

Northern Ireland have never sent a team to the UEFA European Championship, but a brilliant UEFA EURO 2016 campaign ended with an unexpected top spot in qualifying Group F.

David Healy (Northern Ireland)

Best result: never previously qualified
Coach: Michael O'Neill
Leading scorers: all-time – David Healy (36); current – Kyle Lafferty (16)
Most appearances: all-time – Pat Jennings (119); current – Aaron Hughes (96)
Association formed: 1880
Nickname: Norn Iron
Where they play: Windsor Park, Belfast

Despite some memorable wins, Northern Ireland had never sent a team to the finals of the UEFA European Championship until now, previously coming closest in the 1984 qualifying series when they beat holders West Germany home and away. In contrast there have been three appearances at the FIFA World Cup, the first in 1958 resulting in a quarter-final appearance and the second, in 1982, featuring a famous 1-0 win over hosts Spain. Like all-time top marksman David Healy, the great George Best sadly never graced a major tournament. The current crop, under manager Michael O'Neill, will get that opportunity to shine on the big stage in France.

EURO pedigree
Matches played

Overall: P110 W40 D25 L45 F120 A138
Final tournament: P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
Qualifying: P110 W40 D25 L45 F120 A138

Northern Ireland first entered the UEFA European Championship ahead of the 1964 finals, beating Poland 4-0 on aggregate before losing out to eventual winners Spain. Billy Bingham's side overcame West Germany 1-0 in Belfast and Hamburg during qualifying for the 1984 edition – only to be pipped to qualification by the Germans on goal difference.

Fans also got a run for their money during the UEFA EURO 2008 campaign when Healy's prolific strike rate helped them to memorable home wins against eventual champions Spain (3-2), Sweden (2-1) and Denmark (2-1), but Northern Ireland could only finish third in their pool. Under Nigel Worthington they started UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying brightly, a 1-0 win in Slovenia and a 0-0 draw with eventual group winners Italy raising hopes, but the campaign ended in disappointment. A frustrating 1-1 draw in the Faroe Islands and a 4-1 defeat by Estonia in Tallinn did much of the damage.

Memorable EURO matches
08/10/15: Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece, UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying
The country's first EURO qualification was confirmed with a Steven Davis-inspired victory over the 2004 champions.

06/09/2006: Northern Ireland 3-2 Spain, UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying
Healy scored a hat-trick to seal a memorable victory over Luis Aragonés' side.

16/11/1983: West Germany 0-1 Northern Ireland, 1984 UEFA European Championship qualifying
Norman Whiteside's goal in Hamburg completed a remarkable double against West Germany.

Did you know?
Healy's tally of 13 goals in 2008 qualifying was a UEFA European Championship record, matched by Poland's Robert Lewandowski in the 2016 preliminaries.

*Last updated on 18/11/2015