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Corry - The whole country can't wait

8 June 2016

Corry Evans believes it will be a proud moment for everyone associated with Northern Ireland when they take to the field on Sunday against Poland.

The Northern Irish are taking part in their first major tournament in 30 years, after a sensational qualification campaign that saw them finish top of their group with six wins and three draws from their 10 games.

The Rovers man feels his national team can take great confidence from the way they have played in the run-up to France, and with a strong belief in the squad, they could be one of the surprise packages at Euro 2016.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said the Rovers midfielder. "It probably didn't sink in until a good few months afterwards.

"It is hard to put into words what it means to be thinking about going and playing against the best players in the world, and for a nation of our size it is a massive achievement.

"Over the years with Northern Ireland there's always been a lot of negativity around it, we've always done well against the big teams, but against similar teams to ourselves or lower teams we always struggled.

"But with this campaign after the first game away to Hungary we managed to pick up the win and from then on the momentum and confidence kicked in.

"We are at the stage now where we are going into games, we all know our jobs and we are confident that we will get a result if we stick to what we are good at.

"We've got a good group of players and a good mix of experience and youth. We've got a good manager who has stuck by us and filled us with belief and confidence, so it has all come together.

"We've had to wait 30 years as a nation but thankfully it has come around and the whole country can't wait for it now."

Following Sunday's match against Poland, Northern Ireland then travel to Lyon to take on Ukraine on June 16th.

They end the group stages at the Parc des Princes in Paris against Germany on June 21st.

The top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-placed teams, will progress through to the round of 16.

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