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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO Niall McGinn celebrates his goal.
# Group C
McGinn gets Northern Ireland off to winning start in Euro 2020 qualifiers
Virgil van Dijk was on the score-sheet as the Netherlands also took all three points against Belarus.

SECOND HALF GOALS from Niall McGinn and Steven Davis ensured Northern Ireland got their bid to qualify out of Group C off to a winning start against Estonia.

Michael O’Neill’s men ended a run of eight competitive matches without a win despite a frustrating first half and McGinn hit the net to bring a 56th-minute sigh of relief for Windsor Park after Kyle Lafferty held up a Jordan Jones cross to set up a thumping finish from McGinn.

The advantage was doubled 15 minutes from time as defender Karol Mets went to tackle George Saville with his feet raised above waist level inside the area. Davis converted the soft spot-kick, drilling straight down the middle.

The three points sees Northern Ireland sit level with the Netherlands in Group C after they cruised past Belarus with a 4-0 win at the home of Feyenoord.

Memphis Depay struck in either half, with Liverpool pair Georgino Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk also on target.

Northern Ireland will face Belarus on Sunday, while Germany cross the border to meet the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Netherlands Belarus Euro 2020 Soccer Peter Dejong Van Dijk heads in to round off the scoring for the Netherlands. Peter Dejong

In Group I, Belgium joined Cyprus and Kazakhstan on three points thanks to a 3-1 win over Russia.

Eden Hazard proved the difference with a brace after a Thibault Courtois howler gifted Denis Cheryshev a leveller after Youri Tielemans’ 14th-minute opener.

Kazakhstan, of course, are the group’s surprise package after thrashing Scotland 3-0 in Astana this afternoon.

Murray Kinsella and Andy Dunne dissect Ireland’s disappointing Six Nations campaign, and discuss the pros and cons of rugby’s new law proposals in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:


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