Euro 2020 qualifiers: NI captain Steven Davis has 'no excuses' for missed penalty

Steven Davis
Davis remains on 12 international goals after his penalty miss

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has made no excuses for his missed penalty in their scoreless draw with the Netherlands in Belfast.

The midfielder blasted a spot-kick well over the bar in the 32nd minute of the Euro 2020 qualifier at Windsor Park, but faced a long wait to take it.

Dutch players protested strongly with referee Szymon Marciniak before goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen walked off his line to prolong the delay.

"No excuses from me," said Davis.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill said the protests would have placed doubts in his skipper's mind, but Davis said it made no difference.

"That's all part of the game," continued the Rangers man, who was making his 116th appearance to overtake David Beckham as the UK's most capped international midfielder.

Virgil van Dijk
NI manager Michael O'Neill felt the referee could have handled the Dutch protests better

"I didn't feel in my head that any of that affected me. Unfortunately, I just put too much on it.

"I watched clips before the game and I thought he went quite early so the idea was to hit it down the middle and I hit it a little bit too much down the middle.

"It's a huge disappointment because we all wanted that big result and a big scalp to take it into the final game. Unfortunately we couldn't do it."

The draw secured the Netherlands' automatic qualification for next summer's Euro 2020 finals alongside Germany from Group C, while Northern Ireland still have a chance of going through in the play-offs.

O'Neill, who took over as Stoke City boss last week, is set to remain in charge of NI for the play-offs in March but, with the draw likely to send NI away from home, Saturday's match was probably his Windsor Park farewell.

Michael O'Neill and Steven Davis
O'Neill and Davis embrace after the Netherlands draw

He stepped on to the pitch to applaud the fans at full-time but quickly went over to put an arm around his forlorn-looking captain.

"Michael didn't say anything to me," added Davis. "We didn't need any words.

"If this was to be Michael's last game at Windsor Park - obviously we don't know where we will be playing in the play-offs - I would have loved to have got that big win for him but unfortunately we missed it.

"It's probably the story of the games against the bigger nations, us not taking our chances. It feels like a missed opportunity."

Northern Ireland complete their Group C campaign in Frankfurt on Tuesday, away to Germany.

"While we are disappointed now we will look back on this match and take a lot of positives from it," Davis added.

"Whatever way the Germany game ends up we will look forward to the play-offs after that and hopefully the draw will be kind to us.

"It will be interesting to see who we get and where we will be playing. It's a quick turnaround in the games if we do win the first one so it is something to look forward to."