IT remains one of the most famous images of the World Cup, Gerry Armstrong turning, almost in shock, to celebrate the goal that earned Northern Ireland a stunning 1-0 win over the hosts at Spain 82.

It is a goal Blackburn Rovers midfielder Corry Evans watched over and over again growing up as a boy in Belfast and, 32 years on, it is one that still marks the most memorable moment in the country’s footballing history.

Northern Ireland may have qualified for the World Cup in Mexico four years later, this time failing to make it out of the group stages, but that was the last time they have made a major international tournament.

Evans, however, is determined to help put that right.


Northern Ireland go into their big Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania tonight at the top of their group after starting a qualifying campaign with three straight wins for the first time.

Evans, who is set to earn his 27th cap in Bucharest, knows there will still be a long way to go no matter what happens this evening.

But he knows another victory would move Michael O’Neill’s men a big step closer to the finals in France in two years’ time – and a chance to replicate the heroics of Armstrong, Norman Whiteside and former Rovers winger Noel Brotherston in Spain.

“That’s all your hear, the songs and the chants about it (Armstrong’s goal),” said Evans.

“That was the last successful Northern Ireland team, it has been a long time since, so hopefully we can put ourselves in the history books and get to the Euros.”

Northern Ireland have headed to Romania with confidence high after a superb 2-0 win over Greece last time out.

Evans operated on the right side of midfield in Piraeus and could be asked to do the same by boss O’Neill tonight.

“I tend to play on the right for my country,” said the 24-year-old.

“The manager trusts me to do a shift down the right-hand side.

“We are quite defensive away from home with good counter-attacking players in the side.

“It was a great win for us, Greece only had one shot on target the whole game so it is a credit to the lads with the way we defended.

“To come away and beat Greece 2-0 made a real statement for the rest of the group and it has give confidence to the fans and players as well.”