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San Marino vs Northern Ireland betting tips: Euro 2024 qualifier preview, predictions, team news and odds

San Marino vs Northern Ireland: Head to head statistics



Match preview

Michael O’Neill is back in charge of Northern Ireland, so will his second spell as manager begin with a win Serravalle?

In 2016, O’Neil led Northern Ireland to their first major tournament for 30 years, reaching the knockout phase at their European Championships to date.

The Green and White Army then featured in the play-offs in both 2018 and 2020 qualifying, ousted by Switzerland and Slovakia respectively.

After that, things really fell off a cliff for O’Neil’s successor Ian Baraclough.

His team won just two World Cup qualifiers, both against Lithuania, before claiming just a solitary win in Nations League C, thereby avoiding the relegation play-outs on goal difference alone.

To summarise, Northern Ireland are far from the force of a few years ago, with the IFA hoping that O’Neil’s return can change that.

Denmark are likely to cruise to top spot, but all of Slovenia, Finland, Kazakhstan or Northern Ireland themselves will rightly feel second place is well within their grasp.

Ahead of Finland visiting Windsor Park on Sunday night, will the Green and White Army put three points on the board here?

San Marino, for their part, are still seeking a first-ever competitive international win.

To date, la Serenissima have played 166 competitive fixtures, drawing five and losing the other 161, conceding a whopping 724 goals, that’s an average of 4.4 per 90 minutes.

Last year, Fabrizio Costantini’s side lost all four Nations League D matches without scoring, beaten home and away by both Estonia and Malta.

Just in terms of qualifiers, San Marino have lost 94 of their last 95 outings, the sole exception a goalless draw with Estonia way back in November 2014.

Northern Ireland have won both previous visits to Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle 3-0, with a similar scoreline expected here.

San Marino team news

19 year old Lorenzo Lazzari, who bagged a stoppage time equaliser against Saint Lucia in November’s friendly, could be a relative star of the future for this team.

That makes him the joint-top scorer in this squad with one international goal.

Forward Nicola Nanni is currently the best player in this squad, plying his trade with Olbia in Serie C, scoring his first San Marino goal against Poland in 2021.

Predicted XI (5-4-1): Benedettini; D’Addario, Rossi, Palazzi, Fabbri, Tosi; Lunadei, Battistini, Golinucci, Ceccaroli; Nanni.

Northern Ireland team news

The away side are without Jonny Evans, Steven Davis, Niall McGinn, Stuart Dallas and Kyle Lafferty who, between them, have 464 international caps.

So, Craig Cathcart will captain the side, with Josh Magennis the only other squad member to have 60+ caps to their name.

He scored twice in four minutes when Northern Ireland last visited San Marino in 2017.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell has made just 13 appearances for Burnley this season, but remains his country’s number one.

Similarly, Jamal Lewis is their best option at left-back, despite having featured for a mere 121 minutes in a Newcastle shirt this season.

Eoin Toal, Cameron McGeehan, Isaac Price and Sean Goss could all make their international debuts off the bench.

Predicted XI (4-3-3): Peacock-Farrell; Bradley, Ballard, Cathcart, Lewis; McNair, Saville, Thompson; Charles, Whyte, Magennis.


Picture of Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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