Northern Ireland to prolong 100% record in Belarus
Top plays bottom in Group C with Northern Ireland looking to make it four wins on the bounce. A gutsy second-half display from Michael O’Neill’s men saw Northern Ireland narrowly get past Estonia 2-1 on Saturday, having trailed for 52 minutes, keeping their 100% record intact. Ireland must win in Borisov to realistically prolong their hopes of Euro 2020 qualification with their final four matches in the group coming against Germany and the Netherlands.
Belarus’ recent form
A 2-0 defeat to Germany on Saturday made it a three-game streak of conceding in both halves. The Belarussians have also let in a goal within 30 minutes in every game of this qualifying campaign. They have failed to score in 50% of their last 12 competitive clashes at home since June 2015, a third of those matches saw over 2.5 total goals and only one in the sides’ last nine encounters have seen both teams find the net. The White Wings have only won two home games since June 2017 and they were against extremely weak opposition in the form of San Marino and Luxembourg.
The ever-resilient Northern Ireland battled back brilliantly to snatch three points in Estonia with two late goals. The sucker punch strikes came just three minutes apart, 77 and 80, both coming from the left wing to see Conor Washington and Josh Magennis beat the keeper. The latter arguably got the last touch on Washington’s finish so may have been aggrieved a brace, Magennis had the last laugh in the reverse fixture with a late winner in the opening match of the qualifying campaign. After a miserable season at club level with Bolton Wanderers he may be looking to perform in the shop window with the club being relegated to League One for next season. The former Charlton Athletic man’s goal got a monkey off the back of the Northern Irish having gone their previous eight away games without a win, so it should be a result that will boost the confidence of the squad coming into this one. Ireland have won four of their last six in qualifying without conceding and would make it three wins on the trot versus Belarus with two of those fixtures involving over 2.5 goals.
It cannot be stressed enough how crucial to NI’s qualification dream getting three points on Tuesday evening will be. With the mammoth tasks of playing Germany and the Netherlands four consecutive times on the horizon the Green and White Army need to be in the best position possible for when they do inevitably drop points. They have not managed a point against the Netherlands since 1976 and the Germans 1996 so without a win against Belarus they do not have a prayer. Michael O’Neill masterminded NI to the 2016 European Championships and will be quietly confident given the endeavour his side have shown so far in their push to replicate that success.
Northern Ireland to go into the summer break with a narrow victory over Belarus, putting themselves in a great position to take on Germany and the Netherlands in vying for Euro 2020 qualification.
Belarus – Northern Ireland Betting Tip
Northern Ireland to Win with Bet365 at odds of 9/5.