Northern Ireland can leave legacy: McAuley

Northern Ireland hero Gareth McAuley said his team’s winning performance in Lyon on Thursday would encourage future generations.

Man-of-the-match McAuley scored the first goal in the Ulstermen’s 2-0 win over Ukraine on Thursday with a towering header and gave a solid performance as Michael O’Neill’s side breathed new life into their Euro 2016 campaign.

O’Neill’s side had been largely written off following a disappointing showing in their opener which ended in a 1-0 defeat to against Poland.

They bounced back on Thursday, with a much brighter display to earn a victory that gives them a chance of progressing from Group C and into the last 16.

A tough final game against world champions Germany awaits, but McAuley remains optimistic.

"It's been a long time. We have talked about leaving a legacy in this tournament and hopefully we can get to major tournaments more often," McAuley told reporters after the game.

"A lot of people did not give us a chance of getting a point when the draw was made but this is what Northern Ireland are all about, proving people wrong."

The West Brom defender insists there is no pressure on Northern Ireland despite the looming clash with Germany.

"They are the world champions. It's going to be a tough, tough game but football is a romantic game too and sometimes the underdogs come through," he said.

"There is no pressure from the outside, our fans support us no matter what. They are happy to be here and that's the most important thing for us," he added.

Coach Michael O'Neill was also full of praise for his team following the win.

"It was a fantastic performance,”  said O'Neill. “We were positive from the outset in every aspect."

"When we came here we wanted to make sure we would head into the last game with something to play for and we've given ourselves a really good chance of qualification."