O’Neill backs defence

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Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill is keenly aware of the threat posed by Gareth Bale, but is confident his side will be able to keep the Welsh forward quiet.

Norn Iron take on Wales in the round of 16 at the European Championship and will be full of confidence after defying all expectations in the groups stage to qualify for the knockout rounds.

However, Wales are also flying high after topping Group B, which also included rivals England, and O'Neill knows Northern Ireland are going to have to be at their best if they are to progress any further in the competition.

"The words of wisdom for the team are simple: Find the game of your life tomorrow night. The game will have a bit of a cup-tie feel to it," he told reporters.

"We recognise the size of the task tomorrow night. I expect Wales are the favourites, but we played here three nights ago against the world champions and we won't get a tougher game in the tournament."

Northern Ireland success at the Euros has been built on the back of a strong defensive effort and O'Neill will be relying on them once again against Wales.

"The main thing is how we defend as a team. That has been our strength and we've gained confidence from that," he added.

"It's up to us to ensure that Gareth Bale has a quiet night."

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