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McAuley and Evans progress with Northern Ireland

22 June 2016

Albion pair join team-mate James Chester in the last 16

CONGRATULATIONS to Albion duo Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans having last night helped Northern Ireland qualify for the knockout stages of Euro 2016.

Northern Ireland's 1-0 defeat to world champions Germany saw them finish third in Group C and face an anxious wait to discover whether they had progressed as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Yet results elsewhere later last night confirmed a place in the last 16 for Michael O'Neill's men, who are competing in their first major tournament since 1986.

Progression represents an historic achievement for McAuley and Evans, who both completed 90 minutes against Germany having done likewise in Northern Ireland's previous group games against Poland and Ukraine.

McAuley was the nation's hero against Ukraine when his header sent the Green and White army on their way to a memorable, and ultimately crucial, 2-0 victory.

Northern Ireland's second-round opponents will either be hosts France or fellow home nation Wales, with the full schedule only complete once the group stages are wrapped up.

Should they face Wales, the mouth-watering second-round tie would see Evans and McAuley come up against Baggies defensive team-mate James Chester for a place in the quarter-finals.

James McClean will also look to join his Albion colleagues in the round of 16 when Republic of Ireland complete their Group E schedule against Italy on Wednesday (8pm ko). 

Good luck James!

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