O'Neill plays down expectations

04 September 2017 11:52:53 UK

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill insists his side will play with no fear when they take on the Czech Republic at Windsor Park on Monday.

After beating San Marino on Friday, Northern Ireland need only to avoid defeat against the Czechs to ensure they will finish second in Group C with two games left to play.

An away win in Belfast would move the Czechs to within four points of Northern Ireland, who face Germany and Norway in their last two matches as the race to reach next summer's World Cup finals in Russia intensifies.

Northern Ireland are attempting to qualify for their second major tournament in a row after being involved in Euro 2016, and O'Neill said: "The experience of the last qualifying campaign has been invaluable.

"The dressing room is assured and composed and the players are looking forward to the game. It's a big match but it is not something they fear. You can tell the team is ready to play.

"If we do get second place it's a fantastic achievement, but it doesn't guarantee us a place in Russia."

Northern Ireland are 23/10 to beat the Czech Republic on Monday with Steven Davis 6/1 to score at any time in the crunch World Cup qualifier.

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