On Sunday, Northern Ireland plays Finland in Group H of the 2024 European Championship qualifiers at Windsor Park.The visitors, who have lost their last five games across all competitions, will want to get their campaign back on track.
With their 2-0 victory over San Marino on Thursday, Northern Ireland got off to a flying start in their competition for a spot in Germany.This came after a disappointing campaign in the UEFA Nations League the year before, when Michael O’Neill’s team finished third in League C with just five points from six games.
Northern Ireland will try to improve on their midweek performance, but they have only won once since November 2021.Aside from Finland, their qualifying campaign began on Thursday with a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Denmark.
Atalanta striker Rasmus Winther Hjlund scored a hat trick to hand Kasper Hjulmand’s team a comfortable victory, undoing the Huuhkajat.Since drawing with North Macedonia and Norway in consecutive friendlies in November, Finland have lost three games in a row.
Northern Ireland has a slight advantage going into Sunday’s matches based on previous encounters. We believe that O’Neill’s team will build on their opening-day victory and defeat the visitors, albeit by a goal or two.
Northern Ireland has a slight advantage in this matchup’s history with four victories from the last seven meetings.In that time, Finland has only won one more game, and the spoils have been split twice.Since a 1-0 defeat in February 2003, Northern Ireland has not lost against Finland in their last four games, winning two and drawing two.
Since November 2021, O’Neill’s team has won just one of their last five home games, drawn two, and lost twice.Since their 2-0 victory over Montenegro in September, Finland have not won in five matches across all competitions.
O’Neill acknowledged after the game that he was managing the game time of Conor Washington and Josh Magennis, but he may select the same Northern Ireland XI as on Thursday.The latter may receive the nod in this instance, but San Marino’s decision to allow players to rest during the final quarter was made with this match in mind.
Shea Charles, a young player for Manchester City who has yet to make a senior club appearance, should return to the center of the midfield.Kanerva is additionally improbable to excessively fiddle with his Finland side given the record that they gave of themselves in Copenhagen.
Ballard, Cathcart, Brown;
Bradley, McNair, S. Charles, Saville, Lewis;
Magennis, D. Charles
Alho, Vaisanen, Ivanov, Jensen;
Lod, Kairinen, Kamara, Antman;
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