It was one of the finest individual goalkeeping performances. Shot after shot was driven in at goal. Muller. Gotze. Gomez. Ozil. Relentless pressure and incisive attacking play from the world champions. Two years ago, so magestic was their play that Brazil wilted and suffered the greatest of humiliations. Not so Northern Ireland. The difference? Michael McGovern.

As things stand, the 31-year-old is out of contract at Hamilton Academicals and is free to find himself a new club. Glasgow Rangers are in pole position to land the shot-stopper who started his professional career at Glasgow Celtic, but the list of clubs alerted to his availability has rocketed since his monstrous display in Paris.

The Germans - back to their imperious best - fired 28 shots in at McGovern's goal but only breached the defense once and that came via a deflection off Gareth McAuley. Indeed, as the game entered it's final thirty seconds of stoppage time, Northern Ireland won a free kick on the halfway line and an unshakable belief that they would pull off the least probable of points briefly flickered for the Green and White Army.

McGovern's display rekindled memories of Northern Ireland at previous tournaments, where custodian Pat Jennings reigned imperious for his country. The similarities between the current incumbent and one of the greatest goalkeepers to play the game where striking.


"He didn't put a foot wrong all night. The players gave him a round of applause when he came in the dressing room," said manager Michael O'Neill in the aftermath of the game.

"It was a phenomenal performance and up there probably with the great goalkeeping performances we've had in the past from the likes of Pat Jennings, Tommy Wright, Maik Taylor.

"He's an exceptional goalkeeper."

Three hours on from that, Northern Ireland's qualification to the last 16 was assured due to their superior goal difference to both Turkey and Albania. Had it not been for McGovern's heroics, the nation's nervy wait would have continued.