Northern Ireland 0-1 Finland: Craig Cathcart ‘frustrated’ after Euro qualifying defeat

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Craig Cathcart says Northern Ireland were “frustrated” after Sunday’s Euro 2024 qualifying defeat by Finland.

Benjamin Kallman scored a first-half winner as Finland condemned Northern Ireland to defeat on Michael O’Neill’s Windsor Park return.

The result, coupled with wins for Kazakhstan and Slovenia, leaves NI fifth in Group H after two matches.

“We need to pick ourselves up, be positive and get the wins on the board,” said captain Cathcart.

Group H is wide open after two matches with Slovenia the only side to have maximum points on the board from the opening two fixtures.

Northern Ireland, who beat San Marino in their opener, are classified fifth but are level on three points with Denmark, Kazakhstan and Finland.

Cathcart’s side pressed for an equaliser in front of a capacity home crowd, and came close through Dion Charles’ disallowed goal, but failed to convert a number of chances.

“In the second half we felt like we were building into the game well and felt like the goal was coming but we just couldn’t get there in the end,” added Watford defender Cathcart.

“To come in [at half-time] at 1-0, we were a little bit disappointed. We had a couple of good opportunities and tried to build on it in the second half.

“We put a lot of balls into the box but it wouldn’t drop our way. We had the goal disallowed which killed our momentum a little bit.”

George Saville dejected at full-time as Finland supporters celebrate
The result in Belfast is an early blow to Northern Ireland’s Euro 2024 hopes

Cathcart, who captained the side in the absence of injured duo Steven Davis and Jonny Evans, was pleased with Northern Ireland perseverance despite the result.

“The heads didn’t drop and we kept on going,” he added.

“We gave everything we could and we were just a little bit unlucky with how the ball dropped her or there. We didn’t really get the opportunities.

“Obviously Kazakhstan beat Denmark so the group is pretty open. We have to take the positives from the game, look at the things we can do better and make sure we are better for June.

“I think the performance was there tonight. We were pushing and we were trying to do the right things. “We need to pick up the wins, that is the thing.”


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