I won't remind you that Will Grigg's on fire in this preview, because he's really not. I mean, Will Grigg is on fire, not literally, and mostly on the internet. He hasn't seen the pitch in Euro 2016, and he likely won't against Germany in the final group match in Group C today.
But that's okay because his team's 2-0 victory over Ukraine on Thursday made this game today matter. Norn Iron played exciting football in the rain and hail, and the Green and White Army got their historic first win in European competition, just adding to the party they were already having in France. Stuart Dallas played the full 90 minutes, and the team rewarded the support with the three points.
They sit in the middle of Group C, good enough to have clinched third and potentially have a shot at the knockout round even with zero points, but a win (a win, against Germany, hahahahaha... but maybe?) would give them 6 points and a shot at winning the group depending on the result between Poland and Ukraine.
That's crazy right? I'm just going to leave this video in the preview again, because it's all I can think about as I write those first three paragraphs.
I spent some time in Northern Ireland in the summer of 2010, and I'll never forget it. The people were great, from Londonderry to Ardglass, and the hospitality flowed for this rain-soaked bicyclist (and my friend, what up D-bo?) wherever we went. It might have been that we looked like pathetic, wet sots weaving through the Irish rains without rain gear and with ridiculous beards at all hours of the day and night... but whatever it was, Northern Ireland earned its place in my heart that summer.
And this summer, six years later, the nation has just gotten more lovable. Will Grigg's on fire, everyone, in case you haven't heard (crap, couldn't avoid it), and if the team can pull off a remarkable, memorable result against Germany on Tuesday, the entire nation might burst into flame as well.
To do that, they have to go through the reigning World Cup champions. Germany hasn't been incredible thus far in Euro 2016, scoring only two goals against Ukraine, to match Northern Ireland's output. They also couldn't score against Poland, similar to Northern Ireland, and held on for a 0-0 draw to give them four points atop the group.
But they are still a dominant force. Any lineup that boasts Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mesut Özil, and Mario Gotze in attack are going to be a problem for anyone, and their defence and goalkeeping ain't bad either. Though none of those listed have scored yet in this tournament, they surely will by the time it's through, and Northern Ireland has to avoid being punched in the face by their brute strength.
And while he has suggested there might be changes in the lineup that faced Poland, Germany manager Joachim Low wasn't hesitant to guarantee a threatening, potent attack on Tuesday.
"Last week it was all about the defence, now it's offence. We will win against Northern Ireland. We will win the group and then, I believe, we'll be playing in Lille again for the round of 16. I don't know about any other ways."
Confident words from a man caught sniffing his bum.
Will Leeds United's lone representative play 90 again? Will Dallas be able to stand tall against Germany's superstar-laden midfield? Will he score and make me lose my mind? Will Northern Ireland just yell "Not in the Face" for 90 minutes?
We'll find out soon enough. Good luck today Northern Ireland, hope we see you again in the knockout stages.
Stuart Dallas' Northern Ireland v Germany
Euro 2016 Group C
Parc des Princes, Paris, France
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
9:00a PT / 12:00p ET / 5:00p BT
Northern Ireland's possible Starting XI
McGovern; Hughes, Cathcart, McAuley, J. Evans; C. Evans, Norwood; Ward, Davis, Dallas; Washington.
Germany's possible Starting XI
Neuer; Howedes, Boateng, Hummels, Hector; Khedira, Kroos; Muller, Özil, Draxler; Gotze.
Northern Ireland 14/1
Screw it. There's no way Northern Ireland should survive this match, but they played Poland evenly and beat Ukraine by the same score Germany did. I'm going 1-0 Northern Ireland. Goal: STUART DALLAS.
(P.S. Don't care, doing this again. WILL GRIGG IS ON FIRE! YOUR DEFENCE IS TERRIFIED!)