Northern Ireland welcome the visitors Scotland in the Euro Qualification – Round 1. The match will be held on Thursday, March, 21st, at the Windsor Park (Belfast).
The hosting Northern Ireland are winless in four latest matches in a row. Competing in the Nations League, which is good in itself, they conceded in all three fixtures, taking the last place in the group and relegating to the lower group C. Anyways, the team are gaining experience and progressing; they’ve already kicked off in the last European Championship and advanced to 1/8 finals there.
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The visiting Estonia cannot boast anything like that. The team’s top international achievement is Euro-2012 qualification to playoffs wherein they took a hammering at the hands of Ireland by an aggregate scoreline of 5:1. Also, they competed once in the Olympics, held yet in 1924.
Domestic divisions wherein the sides compete are totally miserable. However, almost all Northern Irelanders perform in different English leagues. Ferguson, former Newcastle United man, now fights for Millwall, Vassel – for Rotherham United, Saville and McNair compete for Middlesbrough, Dallas – for Leeds United, Corry Evans – for Blackburn Rovers and Jonny Evans – for Leicester City. There are also footballers from Scotland clubs: McAuley and Davis come from Rangers, McGinn – from Aberdeen, and Hughes, who used to perform for Newcastle, Aston Villa, and Fulham, presently plays for Heart of Midlothian. Thus, the hosts have solid expertise, at least, as compared to Estonia staffed with footballers competing in Poland, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, and the local Flora.
Surprisingly, Estonia suffer no loss in three consecutive matches. They won Greece in the last Nations League encounter. Then, they beat Finland in the friendly clash and drawed against Island in another friendly, 0:0. That must be it. Before, Estonia lost in six of seven fixtures. The hosts are better prepared in terms of individual performance. Northern Ireland play on their home soil where they attained nine wins in fifteen clashes, ending victors against Norway, Slovenia, South Korea, Czech Republic, – the teams that feature a much higher class than the Estonians do – and they will probably start this qualification with a win. The Irelanders did qualify to the previous European Championship; they must be keen on doing so this Euro again.
Prediction for the match: Northern Ireland to win home.