Greetings from Nice. The capital city of the French Riviera plays host to Northern Ireland's first ever game in the European Championship finals.

With an unbeaten run currently standing at 12 games, I wasn't surprised to be met by high expectation levels amongst the supporters.

There is of course also the pragmatic view which suggests qualification for the last 16 would be another remarkable achievement.

Kyle Lafferty has recovered from his groin strain, although his lack of game time heading into the tournament has to be a concern for Michael O'Neill.

With seven goals for Northern Ireland in the qualifiers Lafferty will be confident of adding to his tally in France. Can former postman Conor Washington deliver? Then of course there's the prolific Will Grigg, you know the rest...

As is the case with the Republic of Ireland, much will depend on Northern Ireland's opener.

In Robert Lewandowski Poland have a player capable of making a major impact at this tournament. The Bayern Munich star scored 13 goals in The European qualifiers.

Robert Lewandowski

He will be ably assisted by Arkadiusz Milik, the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Germany was among six scored by the Ajax man in Group D.

Poland have underperformed in previous tournaments, failing to reach the knockout stage in 2008, and again four years ago as co-hosts. 

O'Neill's thoughts will turn to Ukraine after Sunday's game. Ukraine qualified via the play-offs and managed just one point from four games against the two automatic qualifiers Spain and Slovakia.

With Andriy Shevchencko long retired the main Ukranian goal threat is likely to come from Dynamo Kiev's Andriy Yarmelenko.

Their Group C campaign ends against Germany. Northern Ireland fans will take encouragement from the four points the Republic of Ireland won against the world champions in qualifying.

Those of an older vintage will point to home and away wins for Northern Ireland over West Germany in the 1984 European Championship qualifiers.

Perhaps the best scenario for Northern Ireland is for Germany to be already assured of progression from the group before their Parc des Princes meeting on 21 June. 

Up to 40,000 Northern Ireland fans are expected in France, part of the 7 million attending a game or a fan zone event in the month ahead.

Finally some words of warning for those lucky enough to be attending the Republic of Ireland's opener with Sweden.

What should have been a 25-minute journey from Paris city centre to Versailles on Thursday took over two hours.

George Hamilton experienced similar traffic problems on his way to the Stade de France for Friday's tournament opener. Get there early, what else would you be doing on a Monday afternoon?