The UEFA European Qualifiers are going on and tonight Northern Ireland is going to host the Netherlands in Group C as both fight to secure automatic qualification to next summer's competition.
It has to be said that Northern Ireland must match Germany's result against Belarus in order to remain in contention for qualification. In this case, you have to know that Germany are currently in second place of the chart with the same score as the leaders. On the other side, the Netherlands simply need a point to secure their place at the finals of the tournament.
The teams’ news
What is up with Northern Ireland?
If you take a look at Group C rankings, you will see that the Netherlands are currently on top with 15 points while Northern Ireland are in third place with three points less than the leaders.
It has to be mentioned that Michael O'Neill men have won three and lost four of their matches in the qualifiers up to now. It is also important to know that one of their losses came against the Netherlands on Matchday seven as they lost the match to their rivals 3-1 and the other one was against Germany as they lost the match 2-0 one matchday six.
Another important news is that if the team win the match, it could keep O’Neill employed by the IFA until June, as he is rumored to be staying on with the Ulstermen until their Euro 2020 fate is sealed. He is the one who brought the team to the knockout round of Euro 2016 and that is why he deserves a chance to earn success at club level, but his departure will surely impact Northern Irish football after eight years in charge.
Netherlands in details
On the other side of the pitch, there are The Netherlands who have won five of their qualifiers and lost just one. The loss came against Germany on matchday two. However, it is interesting to know that the team faced Germany on matchday four again as their second leg where this time the Clockwork Orange could win the match against Die Nationalmannschaft, beating them with a 4-2 result.
Northern Ireland absentees
In the case of the teams’ absentees, it has to be said that Memphis Depay who scored two of the three goals in the last meeting with Northern Ireland will be out due to hamstring injury. Davy Propper is also unavailable due to a knock and will also miss the match.
On the contrary, Netherlands head coach Koeman is without two members of his team, with also a third doubt.
In fact, Donyell Malen and Steven Bergwijn have both been ruled out with ankle and hamstring injuries and could be replaced by Luuk de Jong and Ryan Babel in the starting lineup.
Taking a look at the history books, it has to be said that Northern Ireland have beaten the Netherlands once in seven previous attempts with two draws and four losses. The win goes back to a 2-1 victory at Windsor Park in March 1965 with goals from Johnny Crossan and Terry Neill.
The Netherlands have won each of their last three meetings with Northern Ireland, scoring 10 goals and conceding just once, including a 3-1 win back in October.
Northern Ireland have won six of their last eight matches, losing the other two, though those two losses have come across their last three matches.
Netherlands have won each of their last four matches since losing to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League final in June; they could win five games on the bounce for the first time since November 2017 under Dick Advocaat.
It has to be known that Northern Ireland are looking to avoid losing three consecutive European Championship qualifying matches for the first time since October 2011 where they lost four games.
Josh Magennis is the only Northern Ireland player to have scored more than once during this qualifying campaign; the Hull City forward has scored three goals in just 157 minutes of action; this is 52 minutes per goal, each time from the bench.
Netherlands forward Memphis Depay has been directly involved in 12 goals in five games during this qualifying campaign containing of six goals and six assists; that is at least five more than any teammate.
Peacock-Farrell, Smith, Cathcart, J. Evans, Ferguson, C. Evans, Dallas, McNair, Davis, Saville, Lafferty.
: Cillessen, Veltman, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Blind, F. De Jong, Wijnaldum, Van de Beek, Promes, L. de Jong, Babel.
Northern Ireland Key men
The two teams have many stars to keep an eye on. The first one to be named is Jonny Evans who also kicks the ball at Leicester City. It has to be mentioned that the defender has scored one goal for the national team this year at the EUFA Euro Qualifiers.
The well-known midfielder is also a star for the Rangers. This year the 34-year-old has scored one goal and provided one assist for the national team in the EC Qualifications.
Netherlands Key men
Virgil van Dijk
He is the world’s most expensive defender up to now who also kicks the ball as one of the key players at Liverpool. This year he has scored one goal in UEFA European Qualifiers for the team.
Frenkie de Jong
The former Ajax player has recently moved to Barcelona, being one of the most important players in both teams. He has scored one goal and one assist in the six qualifying matches he has played up to now.
Saturday, 16 November
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