- Venue: Windsor Park
- Wednesday: November 16th, 19:45
- Referee: Szymon Marciniak
A crucial few days faces Northern Ireland in their quest to secure qualification for the Euro 2020 finals next Summer. Currently residing at third place and just three points behind the leaders of Group C, fixtures against Netherlands and Germany now await with the former national team visiting Belfast on Saturday. The Dutch team currently lead the group and just another point earned from this game would seal their entry to the finals, but winning this group ahead of the Germans will be an added bonus. Both the Irish and Netherlands teams will be determined to collect all three points, but a failure to win for Northern Ireland could lead to elimination from the tournament.
Northern Ireland began their Group C campaign by winning all four opening matches beating both Belarus and Estonia home and away. Just two goals were conceded in those games, but it has been in a different story in their latest two matches when facing tougher opposition. Two-goal margin defeats were suffered against Germany and Netherlands although Michael O’Neill’s team were considered unfortunate to lose in Rotterdam when conceding late goals. Although the Northern Irish crowd will motivate their team, there will be a concern that the hosts lost both Nations Cup matches against Bosnia and Austria on home turf last year.
Visitors Netherlands failed to qualify for both the Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 finals and so will have added incentive to claim their berth in this 2020 Summer tournament. The Dutch team have won five of their six games in this group to date and conceded a very late winner when beaten 3-2 by Germany in Amsterdam last March. That loss was avenged via a later 4-2 win in Hamburg during September with the Dutch winning all three of their away games to date. The Netherlands were also runners-up in the inaugural Nations Cup earlier this year when beaten 1-0 by Portugal in the final after previously overcoming England.
|10.10.2019||Netherlands 3:1 Northern Ireland||ECQ|
|02.06.2012||Netherlands 6:0 Northern Ireland||FR|
|12.10.1977||Northern Ireland 0:1 Netherlands||WCQ|
|13.10.1976||Netherlands 2:2 Northern Ireland||WCQ|
|07.04.1965||Netherlands 0:0 Northern Ireland||WCQ|
Craig Cathcart (back spasm) and Michael Smith (quad muscle) suffered injuries at the weekend but could be available for this game. Jordan Thompson may play for Blackpool at the weekend after returning from injury.
Marco Bizot has been called into the Netherlands squad to replace unfit goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer while Steven Bergwijn and Donyell Malen have both suffered hamstring injuries with Myron Boadu and Calvin Stengs replacing the duo. Davy Propper (unspecified) is another likely absentee while Memphis Depay (hamstring) is doubtful. Georginio Wijnaldum is expected to recover from an illness which restricted his training for this match.
A glance at the group statistics for the Netherlands reveals that they have netted at least twice per game but also with just two clean sheets registered in six outings. Despite their free-scoring performances in attack, the Dutch can be vulnerable in defence as proved when trailing Northern Ireland 1-0 in the reverse fixture before scoring three goals without reply in the last ten minutes. The hosts had scored twice in their opening two home games before a 2-0 loss against Germany, but they have already proved that they can breach the Netherlands defence. Therefore, a good bet may be for Over 2.5 goals priced at 9/10 with Bet365.
A second pick is for Georginio Wijnaldum to score any time offered at 9/4 by bet365. The attacking midfielder has been an integral member of the successful Liverpool team this term and was the opening scorer in their recent 2-1 Champions League home victory against Genk. Wijnaldum has also netted in four of the five group victories for Netherlands scoring twice in their latest 2-1 victory in Belarus. He has also scored the last goal for his country in all three away matches.
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Over 2.5 goals
Georginio Wijnaldum to score anytime
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