Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Prediction: Northern Ireland vs Germany

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: William Hill

Three Group C teams are still vying for the place in the knockouts at the Euro 2016 with Ukraine being the only one in the company to have already packed their bags with no points from two opening games. Northern Ireland and Germany lock horns keen to sort out the standings in the group in order to have a good starting point for the elimination stage.

Northern Ireland

Michael O’Neill’s men have done brilliantly to get back in life with a win against Ukraine and following their opening disappointment vs Poland. The 46-year-old coach was criticized after the 1-0 defeat back in the homeland as his approach was dubbed too cautious. However, Northern Ireland manager O’Neill has been praised for his tactical brilliance soon after, having decided to make five changes for the Ukraine match. His gamble resulted in a lifeline 2-0 triumph over Ukraine, but Michael O’Neill is now facing a bigger obstacle as he needs to prepare his team for a clash with World Champions Germany. Northern Ireland are currently sitting in third place with three points to their name, one point less than Poland and Germany who are leading the pack. A point from the final group game against Germany could suffice for the Boys in Green who can progress even from the third spot, but Northern Ireland are keen to put in their best display in order to try and stun Loew’s men to a triumph that would be considered a world class surprise.

Team News

Having made five changes to his line-up, Michael O’Neill is now expected to keep some of the players that played against Ukraine.

Biggest surprise Kyle Lafferty will probably start on the bench again, while QPR’s Conor Washington has put in a brilliant display to earn his right to start again. Experienced midfielder Chris Baird is likely to be recalled to team.

Germany

The 2014 FIFA World Champions have opened their Euro 2016 campaign in style thanks to a compelling 2-0 triumph over Ukraine, but Joachim Loew’s men have put a contrasting performance against Poland in a disappointing 0-0 draw. Germany manager was in the spotlight for his selection choices as his team was believed to be lacking true leadership in an unconvincing display. Having misfired in their previous match, Germany need to find solution up front and there is no doubt that players themselves will be keen to make amends for a below-par performance. Germany strikers have been under pressure following their struggles upfront as Germany’s two goals were scored by defender Mustafi and midfielder Schweinsteiger. Mario Gotze came under the spotlight with Loew choosing to start with attacking midfielder who hasn’t had the best of season’s at Bayern Munich. Germany are renowned to their industrious approach however and there is no doubt that Loew’s team will find a way to work their way into the closing stages of the tournament.

Team News

Joachim Loew is facing an attacking dilemma as he has to choose over his tactics for the last group stage match.

Mario Gotze could lose his place to Mario Gomez, the top scorer in the Turkish League last season. Andre Schuerrle could be deployed through the middle as well, but no other changes are expected for the Germany side.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Northern Ireland have lost only 2 on their last 15 matches
  • Boys in Green have kept a clean sheet in 4 of their last 5 games
  • Germany’s patchy form has seen them lose 4 of their last 10 fixtures
  • Draw against Poland was Germany’s first since 2015
  • Northern Ireland has last defeated Germany in November 1983

Conclusion

Germany are feeling pressure after their disappointing goalless draw against Poland and Joachim Loew’s men will go hard from the off in order to stake their claim and send a clear message to all their critics. Northern Ireland, on the other side, are willing to use the positive momentum and psychological advantage is most certainly on their side.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: William Hill

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