The qualification for next years European Championships is over. Aside from the hilarity of England's efforts and Scotland's failure at the final hurdle, Northern Ireland had their best performance since their successful campaign to get to Mexico for the 86 World Cup.
This effort was headed by the goalscoring exploits of David Healy. Healy managed two hat-tricks against Spain and Liechtenstein and after scoring the winner against Denmark last Saturday it was widely reported that he had broken the European qualifying goalscoring record.
In total Healy scored 13 goals this qualification, overtaking Davor Suker who scored 12 goals for Croatia when they qualified for Euro 96. Suker even congratulated Healy for breaking the record as reported
But if we look at the number of games played, we can see that Suker has a better goal ratio than Healy, as Croatia only played 10 games as opposed to Northern Ireland's 12. So in my book Suker's feat is more impressive and had greater repercussions as Croatia and Suker made it to the quarter-finals before losing to Germany at Old Trafford and Suker scored a further 3 goals in England. The major consequence of Northern Ireland's third place in their group is a rise up the FIFA rankings and a better seeding position for the 2010 World Cup
Despite this nit-picking Healy is still to be congratulated for his prowess, and I will look forward to seeing if he is able to replicate his international form for Fulham over the rest of the season. I also found it mildy interesting that the second top scorer in the Euros qualifying was Eduardo, the Croatian from Rio de Janerio, with 10 goals. Eduardo also plays in the Premier League but has not scored in the league yet since Arsenal signed him in the summer.