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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 16:49 UK

Taylor accepts NI hopes are over

Maik Taylor
Maik Taylor shows his frustration during Wednesday's game

Goalkeeper Maik Taylor has accepted that Northern Ireland's World Cup qualification ambitions are over.

Mathematically, the Irish can still clinch a place in South Africa but Taylor says Wednesday's 2-0 home defeat by Slovakia ended the team's hopes.

"To get this far and not have something to play for in the last game is hard to take," said the Birmingham keeper.

"The Czechs will be another big test for us but unfortunately there will be nothing to play for."

For Nigel Worthington's squad to qualify, they need to beat the Czech Republic in Prague next month and hope that Slovenia fail to account for group whipping boys San Marino four days later.

Taylor acknowledges that the latter result is not going to happen, which is a massive disappointment for the 38-year-old, who is unlikely to be involved in another World Cup campaign.


Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington was just as depressed by Wednesday's outcome but took time to pay tribute to the efforts of Taylor and other senior players Aaron Hughes and Stephen Craigan.

Worthington said: "I cannot start to tell you how disappointed I am, for myself, for the staff, the supporters and the likes of Taylor, Hughes and Craigan.

"All three have been fantastic. They are feeling the pinch and I am hugely disappointed for them because they deserve it (to go to World Cup). They are a great group of players.

"I am gutted. Slovakia are well organised but we had a chance of going top of the group but we did not have the courage to go and take it. "

Captain Hughes spoke of the sombre mood of the Northern Ireland players after the match.

"I have not seen the atmosphere in the dressing room as low as it was after the game. Every one of the players is disappointed," added Hughes.

"It was all about winning and getting the three points. It didn't matter how it came but now there is only dejection."

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see also
Worthington deflated by NI defeat
10 Sep 09 |  Internationals
N Ireland 0-2 Slovakia
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Poland 1-1 N Ireland
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Hughes disappointed by equaliser
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
N Ireland 1-0 Slovenia
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Pick your N Ireland XI
27 Apr 09 |  Internationals

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