Northern Ireland vs San Marino Betting Tips
Northern Ireland welcome the international minnows of San Marino to Windsor Park on Saturday night as Michael O’Neill’s side look to register a big victory.
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Northern Ireland vs San Marino football tips: Recent form
Northern Ireland’s form over the past two years has been comfortably their best since the halcyon days of the mid-1980s. The qualification for the European Championships was emphatic – as they became the first ever fifth seeds to top their group. Reaching the knockout stages of the competition was another fine achievement and their elimination to Wales was somewhat unfortunate, exiting due to Gareth McAuley’s own goal.
The ‘Green and White Army’ have started the follow-up campaign with a decent opening day draw away to Czech Republic. The Prague encounter finished goalless and those two sides appear likely to be vying for the runners-up spot, with Germany expected to win the group.
San Marino began their campaign with a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Azerbaijan which was not a bad result for San Marino, considering they only had ten men.
Of 136 official international matches, they have lost 131 and have won once – against Liechtenstein in 2004.
The two sides have met twice before, in the qualification campaign for the 2010 World Cup, with Northern Ireland winning 4-0 in Belfast and 3-0 away.
Anytime goalscorer – Gareth McAuley at 9/4 – the West Brom centre half has scored as many international goals (8) over the past twelve years as San Marino have as a nation. He is a constant threat from set pieces, and Northern Ireland are almost certain to hit double figures in terms of corners alone in this game.
Over 5.5 goals 11/4 – Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has admitted in the build-up to this game that all his emphasis will be on attack and trying to get as many goals as possible. This is more realism than any sort of arrogance and it would not be any surprise if Northern Ireland were to record a big victory. An early goal could well set the tempo for at least five or six goals from the home side.
Football preview: Team news
Striking duo Liam Boyce and Will Grigg are unavailable for Northern Ireland, as is Watford defender Craig Cathcart. Expect an otherwise full-strength team, with two of Conor Washington, Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis to play up front.
Cristian Brolli is suspended for San Marino following his red card against Azerbaijan.