North Macedonia vs Northern Ireland: ‘Late Austria agony proof of progress’ says Lauren Wade

Lauren Wade says the disappointment at last month’s 2-2 draw with Austria is evidence of Northern Ireland’s progress.

Kenny Shiels’ side suffered late heartbreak at Seaview as Austria snatched a share of the points with a last-gasp equaliser.

Northern Ireland return to World Cup qualifying action on Thursday afternoon when they take on North Macedonia at the Skopje FFM Training Centre (12pm kick-off BST).

And Wade is confident Northern Ireland can bounce back to winning ways.

“The mood has been good in training. We are all looking forward to the game,” Glentoran forward Wade said.

“There’s no team in this group that can be underestimated. We’ve done our preparation and the coaches have done theirs.

“We have worked hard and we know what we have to do to make sure that we get the result.”

She added: “After the Austria game there was that bit of disappointment but over the last number of weeks we have been able to reflect and we have to be proud of ourselves.

“I think it shows how far we’ve come as a group. Austria are a superb team. To get the draw against them was disappointing obviously with leading the game but we have to be proud of ourselves.”

Northern Ireland will need to harness all of their team spirit when they take on North Macedonia in back-to-back games.

Two wins would keep Shiels’ side in contention for a runners-up spot in Group D, with England in pole position to finish top.

“We are one big family, players and coaches, and we all have that relationship and I think that shows off the pitch and on it,” Wade added.

“We work hard for each other and we fight for each other.

“It means everything to pull on the green jersey. It’s always been a dream of mine. I really felt it (proud) in the last couple of games with the fans being there.

“You are there playing in front of the Green and White Army. To play for your country is one of the highest honours you can have and I am very proud to play for Northern Ireland.”

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