Northern Ireland vs Estonia prediction: Northern Ireland 2-0 Estonia
Will this be the first step on the long road to Euro 2020 for Northern Ireland.
After narrowly missing out on Russia 2018, Will Michael O’Neil lead his side to a second major tournament?
After a miserable Nations League campaign, this might be their best route to the Euros.
But it certainly won’t be easy.
If they are to make it, they need to win games like these.
Will they get off to the perfect start?
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) December 2, 2018
Northern Ireland vs Estonia: Who will win?
The Green and White Army are odds on favourites at 1/2 to start with a home win.
Estonia are big underdogs at 13/2 to silence the noisy home crowd.
A draw, which isn’t any good for either team, is 13/5.
Under 2.5 goals is 1/2.
Both teams to score no is 4/9.
Northern Ireland to win and both teams to score no is evens.
Kyle Lafferty has been the man for the big occasion at Windsor Park. The Rangers man is 10/3 to score first and 6/4 to net anytime.
His future Rangers teammate, Jordan Jones, will also be a threat. He’s 11/2 to score first and 13/5 to net his first international goal.
Rauno Sappinen will lead the line for Estonia. He’s 11/1 to score first and 9/2 to get his third goal for his country.
Both Kyle Lafferty and William Grigg to score is 11/2.
Both Jordan Jones and Kyle Lafferty to score is 17/2.
Northern Ireland vs Estonia: Match preview
Northern Ireland will be glad to see the back of the UEFA Nations League.
Narrow defeats home and away to both Austria and Bosnia & Herzegovina ensured they finished rock bottom of Group B3 with zero points.
Thus, they were relegated to League C.
In the more immediate future, it severely hinders their chances of qualifying for Euro 2020.
In short, they are ranked last in the League B ranking so will need at least 8 of the 11 teams ranked above them to qualify automatically if they’re to get a play-off place.
That may seem unlikely but that could be their most likely route to the finals.
This is because, they’re joined in this group by Belarus, Netherlands and Germany.
With the top two qualifying, most will agree on who those top two are likely to be.
If Michael O’Neil’s side are to pull off a miracle, they can’t afford any slip ups.
💚 Home. No place like it. #GAWA
What’s your favourite Northern Ireland memory at this place? pic.twitter.com/5ki5XHr8Gt
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) December 11, 2018
As for Estonia, they too had a miserable UEFA Nations League campaign.
They won just one of their 6 games and that was a dead rubber in Athens.
Their terrible form saw them relegated to League D from a group containing Greece, Finland and Hungary.
Their hopes of a play-off place are even slimmer so it looks like their wait for a first ever major tournament will go on.
They’re not a good side in any sort of form but can they cause an upset at Windsor Park?
Northern Ireland team news vs Estonia
Michael O’Neil has some big decisions to make ahead of this game.
That includes who’ll be in goal.
Trevor Carson is out after doctors discovered he had deep vein thrombosis in December and Euro 2016 number 1 Michael McGovern has played just 6 times for Norwich this season.
So, Bailey Peacock-Farrell will retain the gloves despite the fact he hasn’t played since January when Leeds United bought another goalkeeper.
In defence, Conor McLaughlin will start at right-back despite not being first choice at Millwall.
They should be able to rely upon their centre-backs though.
Jonny Evans of Leicester and Craig Cathcart of Watford have played 23 and 32 times respectively this season for their Premier League clubs.
Young Jamal Lewis has been outstanding for Norwich this season and will win his seventh cap.
In midfield, Saville and captain Davis will definately start.
The attack minded Gavin Whyte is likely to be left on the bench for the more defensively solid Corry Evans.
Oliver Norwood has been left out of the squad for ‘personal reasons’.
Up front, it’s expected to be a trio from the Scottish Premiership.
Jordan Jones’ star performances for Kilmarnock this season have helped him earn a pre contract at Rangers.
Where, he’ll link up with Kyle Lafferty next season.
He’s scored 19 international goals including 7 in the last Euro qualification campaign.
Will Grigg may well have to be content with a place on the bench.
Does this side have enough quality to see off Estonia?
It really should do.
Estonia team news vs Northern Ireland
As for the visitors, Martin Reim’s squad are not at full strength.
31 year old Sergei Lepmets is set to win only his fifth cap in goal due to the poor form of Mihkel Aksalu.
In defence, they’re without their two most experienced players.
Former Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan, who’s amassed 125 caps, and Enar Jääger, who’s got one more, are both out with injury.
Karol Mets will be the key man at the back in their absence.
They play a 3-4-3 formation with wing-backs Gert Kams and Ken Kallaste.
Midfielder Mattias Käit is actually on Fulham’s books.
However, all of the 20 year old’s appearances this season have come in Premier League 2 as he’s been struggling with injury.
Up front, Shakhter Karagandy winger Sergei Zenjov will win his 75th cap.
Henrik Ojamaa will be through the middle looking to add to his solitary international goal.
Can this side frustrate their hosts and leave Belfast with a point or even all 3?
Predicted Northern Ireland team vs Estonia
Predicted Estonia team vs Northern Ireland
The latest tweets from Northern Ireland pre Estonia
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) March 18, 2019
Who else has missed the #GAWA in full voice!? 🙋🏼♂️👏🏼
21/03 v Estonia 🇪🇪
24/03 v Belarus 🇧🇾
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) March 16, 2019
📸: Mark Davison pic.twitter.com/yU3FmpNQou
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) March 15, 2019
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) March 12, 2019
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) March 12, 2019
Highlights of Northern Ireland’s friendly win vs Israel
The latest tweets from Estonia pre Northern Ireland
— Eesti jalgpall (@eestijalgpall) March 12, 2019
— Eesti jalgpall (@eestijalgpall) March 14, 2019
All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.