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Northern Ireland vs Finland Prediction 26 March 2023

Northern Ireland vs Finland Prediction 26 March 2023

Northern Ireland take on the visitors Finland in the round 2 match of UEFA Euro 2024 qualification. The match will be played on Saturday, March 26th at Windsor Park (Belfast).

In 2016, Northern Ireland made it to the Euro for the first and only time in their history. As for the World Cup, they played in the distant 80s. I don't think the current qualifying cycle for a major tournament will see the team finish higher than third place in their group. After all, competitors such as Slovenia, Kazakhstan, and Finland are also vying for the second spot, along with the "Green and White" team. I highly doubt that even in a home game, Northern Ireland will beat representatives of Suomi. In their last ten matches, they have only won three games against Kosovo, Luxembourg, and San Marino. Finland, as an opponent, is much stronger, wouldn't you agree?

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Unlike their opponent, the Finnish national team has been progressing in recent years. They managed to make it to the last Euro, where they performed quite well. Moreover, they finished third in their group in the qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup, conceding only to powerful France and Ukraine, to whom the Finns lost by only one point. In the first match of the Euro 2024 qualifying cycle, coached by Markku Kanerva, the Finns justifiably lost to Denmark (1-3) away. But comparing the strength of the Danes to the modest Northern Ireland team would be unreasonable.

In my opinion, even the home field advantage does not make the Northern Irish footballers favorites in the match. I expect a relatively even game, in which two out of the three possible outcomes can be covered by betting on X2 at a reasonable odds. Yes, the hosts predictably beat San Marino in the previous qualifying round. But they only scored twice, and even according to the xG, they did not play well enough to score two more goals. In the World Cup 2022 qualifying cycle, Northern Ireland only won two out of eight matches, both against modest Lithuania. In the same tournament, the Finns lost only to France and Ukraine, whom they respected as far stronger opponents. I take the X2 bet and believe that Finland will not lose to a direct competitor in the fight for second place in their group.

Prediction for the match: Finland not to lose.

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Dylan McLaughlin
Football tipster