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McAuley focused on Faroes qualifier
02 Sep 2015 15:03
Gareth McAuley believes Northern Ireland's trip to the Faroe Islands should be viewed as the "pivotal" point of their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
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Michael O'Neill's men head into a double-header with the Faroes and Hungary well poised to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.
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They lie in second place in Group F, one point behind Romania and two ahead of Hungary, with just four games remaining.
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Monday's meeting with the Hungarians in Belfast has been billed as a monumental clash to determine Northern Ireland's qualifying fate, but McAuley has always highlighted Friday's trip to the Faroe Islands as an important contest in the race to reach France next summer.
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"I've always thought this game was pivotal in this campaign," said the West Brom defender.
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"After we won the Finland game everyone said the Romania game (that Northern Ireland drew) was must-win. In many ways that looked after itself but I always looked at this one because of the timing of the game too.
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"We have six points up for grabs and if we are unbeaten in those two games and hopefully win both, we will take a massive stride to the Euros - and of course there is a chance that two wins would actually see us qualify."
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