Healy, McAuley and Espana '82 - Northern Ireland's 10 greatest moments

Watch: Northern Ireland's Greatest Moments

From the 1958 World Cup to the road to Euro 2016, there is just something special about following Northern Ireland.

Performances through the years will mean different things to different generations - but every member of the Green and White Army can associate with the glory, pain and ecstasy that comes with following the team.

Marshall Gillespie, Northern Ireland's resident statto, delves into the archives to pick out 10 of their best performances.

From Wilbur Cush and Danny Blanchflower, Gerry Armstrong and Norman Whiteside, through to David Healy and Gareth McAuley, memories are sure to come flooding back.

Northern Ireland 2-1 Italy

15 January 1958 - World Cup qualifier (Windsor Park)

Wilbur Cush scored against Italy at Windsor Park
Wilbur Cush's goal against Italy secured Northern Ireland place at their first ever World Cup tournament

This fixture was originally supposed to be played at Windsor Park a month earlier, but the Hungarian officials assigned to the match were stranded at London airport so the game went ahead as a 'friendly', ending up in a 2-2 draw.

In the 'return' game, Northern Ireland - who needed a victory to qualify for their very first World Cup finals - stormed into a 2-0 first-half lead thanks to goals from Jimmy McIlroy and the diminutive Wilbur Cush.

The Italians did pull a goal back 11 minutes after the break when goalkeeper Norman Uprichard dropped the ball at Dino da Costa's feet.

But Peter Doherty's men comfortably held on to secure their place at the tournament in Sweden later that summer.

Northern Ireland 2-1 Czechoslovakia (AET)

17 June 1958 - World Cup in Sweden (Malmo)

Peter McParland
Five of Peter McParland's 11 Northern Ireland career goals came at the 1958 World Cup

Northern Ireland needed a play-off with Czechoslovakia to see who would make it through to face France in the last eight of the competition.

When the two teams met in their opening Group One game Peter Doherty's men ran out 1-0 victors, thanks to a goal from Cush.

However, Northern Ireland were missing the injured Harry Gregg and Tom Casey for the play-off, while Bertie Peacock and Cush were not fully fit despite starting.

The Czech's gained the advantage through Zikan on 18 minutes only for Peter McParland to drive the ball home just before the break to equalise.

The Aston Villa striker then pounced again in extra time with his fifth goal of the tournament to sensationally send Northern Ireland through to the quarter-finals.

Netherlands 2-2 Northern Ireland

13 October 1976 - World Cup qualifier (Rotterdam)

Willem van Hanegem
A star-studded Dutch team finished runners-up at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina

Northern Ireland could not have been handed a tougher start to their World Cup qualifying campaign than a trip to Rotterdam to face a Netherlands side containing the likes of Johnny Rep, Johan Neeskens and Johan Cruyff.

However, boss Danny Blanchflower's hopes of getting a result were boosted by the return of an enigmatic George Best, back in a green shirt after an absence of nearly three years.

The visitors stunned their hosts by taking a fourth-minute lead through Chris McGrath, but the Dutch fought back with two quick second-half goals from Ruud Krol and Cruyff.

Substitute Derek Spence fired in an equaliser two minutes from time, though, to give Blanchflower's charges a well-deserved, if unlikely, draw.

Spain 0-1 Northern Ireland

25 June 1982 - World Cup in Spain (Valencia)

Gerry Armstrong
Gerry Armstrong's goal stunned host nation Spain

With their first two matches of the tournament against Yugoslavia and Honduras ending in stalemate, Northern Ireland were faced with the daunting task of having to beat the host nation Spain to qualify for the next stage of the competition.

For the third successive game, manager Billy Bingham stuck with the same starting XI.

After a scoreless first 45 minutes, Northern Ireland edged in front shortly after the break following a powerful run down the right by Billy Hamilton, who saw his cross palmed out by Spanish keeper Arconada straight to the feet of the onrushing Gerry Armstrong who drilled it low into the net.

A dubious red card was dished out to defender Mal Donaghy but, despite finishing the game with 10 men, Bingham's side held out to record what is regarded by most as Northern Ireland's greatest ever result.

Northern Ireland 1-0 West Germany

17 November 1982 - European Championship qualifier (Windsor Park)

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart scored two goals for Northern Ireland

After the euphoria of the 1982 World Cup, Northern Ireland's quest to make it to the 1984 European Championship started with a 2-0 defeat in Austria.

It did not get any easier when the reigning European champions, skippered by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, rolled into town for their next outing.

Goalkeeper Pat Jennings was again missing through injury so Middlesbrough's Jim Platt stepped in to win his 18th cap.

On a rain-soaked night in Belfast, QPR winger Ian Stewart drilled a shot low into the corner for the only goal of the game on 18 minutes.

Despite intense pressure from Jupp Derwall's side, Northern Ireland held out to record their first victory over the Germans.

West Germany 0-1 Northern Ireland

16 November 1983 - European Championship qualifier (Hamburg)

Norman Whiteside
NI repeated their win over Germany almost exactly one year to the day after their victory at Windsor Park

West Germany had never suffered a home defeat in either European Championship or World Cup qualifying.

So the odds were stacked against Northern Ireland repeating their astonishing success in Belfast 12 months previously.

To make things more challenging, Bingham had lost the services of David McCreery and Sammy McIlroy to injury and had to draft in Bolton Wanderers defender Gerry McElhinney for his debut at the age of 26.

As you would expect, it was a typical backs-against-the wall performance from Bingham's side, but when a rare goalscoring opportunity arose Norman Whiteside calmly slotted home the winner from eight yards.

Northern Ireland remain the only side to have defeated the Germans home and away in the same qualifying tournament.

Northern Ireland 1-0 England

7 September 2005 - World Cup qualifier (Windsor Park)

David Healy
Davis...good ball...HEALY!

Northern Ireland went into this World Cup qualifier knowing they had not beaten England on home soil in 78 years, and had not even managed a goal against them in 25.

Despite an abundance of world-class players such as Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and skipper David Beckham, the English rarely threatened a Northern Ireland side with only four Premier League players in their starting line-up.

After soaking up pressure for most of the game, David Healy struck the winner when he latched on to Steven Davis' sublime pass on 74 minutes to strike the ball into the top corner past Paul Robinson and write his name into Northern Ireland folklore.

Northern Ireland 3-2 Spain

6 September 2006 - European Championship qualifier (Windsor Park)

David Healy and Keith Gillespie
David Healy struck 13 times in a remarkable Euro 2008 qualifying campaign

Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez was under some serious pressure going into this qualifying tie after losing their opening game 3-0 at home to Iceland four days earlier.

The former Wimbledon player made the bold decision to give Manchester United teenager Jonny Evans his debut in an unaccustomed left-back role and to start Roy Carroll in goal ahead of Maik Taylor.

Xavi gave the Spaniards the lead inside the opening quarter of an hour, before Healy equalised six minutes later.

The visitors forged ahead again shortly after the break, but Healy drilled in a well-worked free-kick to make it 2-2.

With 10 minutes remaining, the Leeds United striker sealed his hat-trick with an audacious lob to become the first Northern Ireland player to score a treble at Windsor Park since George Best in 1971.

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

8 October 2015 - Euro 2016 qualifier (Windsor Park)

Steven Davis and Josh Magennis
Steven Davis led by example by scoring either side of Josh Magennis' goal

Northern Ireland went into their penultimate Group F game knowing victory over bottom of the table Greece would secure a place in the finals of a major competition for the first time in 30 years.

However, their task was made more difficult by the fact that Michael O'Neill was deprived of the services of Chris Baird, Conor McLaughlin and Kyle Lafferty through suspension.

Despite their absence, the home side struck first ten minutes from the break through skipper Steven Davis.

Josh Magennis, who had been handed his first competitive start by O'Neill, repaid the manager's faith in him by heading in a second and Davis made certain of the three points with another header just before the hour mark.

Greece hit a consolation late on but it did little to dampen the joyous celebration of fans, players and officials at the final whistle.

Northern Ireland 2-0 Ukraine

16 June 2016 - Euro 2016 in France (Lyon)

Gareth McAuley
Gareth McAuley's header will live long in the memory of Northern Ireland fans

After a disappointing 1-0 defeat in their opening Group C game against Poland, manager Michael O'Neill unsurprisingly made five changes to his starting XI for the crucial encounter with Ukraine in Lyon.

Cheered on by an estimated 15,000 of the GAWA, Gareth McAuley powerfully headed home the opener from Ollie Norwood's perfectly delivered free-kick just minutes into the second period.

The referee took both sets of players off due to a heavy hail storm, but substitute Niall McGinn crowned the victory with a second goal deep in injury time to mark Northern Ireland's first win at a major competition since 1982.

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