Neil Evans rounds up the best 10 moments from Northern Ireland’s opening match of Euro 2016 against Poland.Embed from Getty Images
1. Nice in Nice – Top marks to the supporters of both sides for providing the best, and friendliest, atmosphere of the tournament. Great scenes inside the stadium as anthems were applauded, and Ulstermen and Poles mingled without any trouble.
2. The superb atmosphere – it was a score draw (noise-wise) with nothing to separate the Green and White Army (who were determined to party) and the passionate Poles.
3. The Jonny Evans-Robert Lewandowski duel was engrossing, and a bit tasty at times, with the West Brom defender more than holding his own. Safe to say they won’t be exchanging Christmas cards.
4. Polish Pressure – At times, the game had the feel of an FA Cup tie, with a lower division side trying to hang on for a replay against Premier League opposition. But when Northern Ireland changed their system, they carried a threat.
5. Best in Show – They may not have got anything from the game, but Northern Ireland’s kit is terrific; a classy design from Adidas, and one that will stand the test of time.
6. Magnificent Milik – Capped an outstanding performance with a fine winning goal; one that was heart-breaking for Michael McGovern, who was superb between the sticks.
7. That free-kick. Oh, how Steven Davis wishes he could have had that late opportunity again; after a superbly worked set piece, Northern Ireland’s best attacking moment.
8. Will Grigg’s on Fire? Great to hear the song (a less than subtle hint to the manager!), and such a shame we didn’t see him. Nice Twitter ‘heat-map’ showing a blank pitch!
9. Spare a thought for Kyle Lafferty – all that running, up top, on your own. Expect him to have some company earlier in the next game.
10. What might have been? The first five minutes apart, Northern Ireland can take huge credit for their commitment, passion and work rate. But at this level, you need just a little bit more.
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