Northern Ireland: Stuart Dallas calls on team to draw World Cup play-off heartache

Northern Ireland: Stuart Dallas calls on team to draw World Cup play-off heartache

Stuart Dallas says Northern Ireland’s 2017 play-off heartache is inspiring his team as they prepare to face Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals.

Leeds United’s Dallas started both legs of the World Cup play-off defeat to Switzerland three years ago but are now focused on reaching the Euros for the second time.

The winner of a one-legged draw in Sarajevo on Thursday will face either the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia for a place in next summer’s final.

Northern Ireland, who qualified for Euro 2016, were on the verge of returning to the major tournaments but lost 1-0 in 180 minutes in the World Cup play-off against Switzerland.

“We don’t have to feel how we played after the Switzerland game, it was a big disappointment,” Dallas said.

“After the first quarter we knew we had a chance to fix it, but now it’s a game, we do not have that opportunity, so we have to go there confident that we can win.

“It doesn’t make sense to go there hoping we can win. We have to have that confidence.”

Northern Ireland met Bosnia twice in 2018 and lost both clashes a few years later as form sank after a draw in the same Nations League group.

Northern Ireland lose a place in the 2018 World Cup after losing a two-legged play-off against Switzerland

However, they lined up this year in the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, winning all four of their eight games and reaching the play-offs.

Manager Ian Barrackloff has been waiting for his first success since taking over the role Sent mercilessly Norway in September.

“Boys are positive, and obviously we have come from behind a disappointing outcome, which is something we should get right,” Dallas said.

“We need a response, we need a performance. We still have great confidence and hunger to go to a major tournament.

The squad is still young and we are confident that we can go to Bosnia and perform better.

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