Dec 5 (Reuters) - Northern Ireland factbox before the draw for the Euro 2016 finals in Paris on Dec. 12:
Seeding Pot for the draw:
How They Qualified:
Northern Ireland, for so long among the weaker teams in Europe, produced one of the success stories of the qualifying campaign by finishing top of Group F by a point from Romania.
They won six, drew three and lost one of their 10 matches, clinching their place in the finals with a symbolic 3-1 win in Belfast over 2004 champions Greece who finished where the Irish regularly used to end up in qualifiers -- bottom of the group.
Coach Michael O‘Neill:
O‘Neill, 46, widely regarded as one of the real gentlemen of European football, played 31 times for Northern Ireland between 1988 and 1996 during a varied career that saw him with clubs in his native Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, the United States and Scotland.
He managed Scottish lower league side Brechin City before winning the League of Ireland with Shamrock Rovers where he made history by guiding Rovers into the group stages of the Europa League in 2011-12.
That was the first time an Irish side had made it into the competition proper of a European trophy in the modern era.
Northern Ireland’s prospects:
O‘Neill has achieved something little short of miraculous by guiding Northern Ireland to the finals. Most of his squad play either in Scotland or for lower division clubs in England with only a handful like skipper Steven Davis (Southampton), Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Kyle Lafferty (Norwich City) and Paddy McNair (Manchester United) playing in the Premier League.
However, he continually gets his side to perform wonders as a team and lanky Lafferty could prove a danger after scoring seven times in the qualifiers.
Northern Ireland have reached the finals of the European championship for the first time. It is their first major tournament since the World Cup in Mexico in 1986.
William Hill odds to win Euro 2016:
250/1 (Compiled by Mike Collett in London, editing by Mark Meadows)