Best Odds: 23/10
Domestic football has been put on pause for a few weeks in favour of the return of the international break – the first one of the new campaign. In the wake of the Euros and Copa America, as well as the Olympics, many would expect this to be a fairly inconsequential few weeks. Alas, the pandemic has ensured we have to speed up the process on the road to Qatar with Lithuania and Northern Ireland being two of the many nations attempting to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Between their Baltic Cup struggles and inability to ever qualify for the World Cup and Euros as an independent nation, we’d say Lithuania have some work to do within the realm of their first team squad. They often seem scared to even push forward with the looming risk of conceding being ever-present, although they can take some heart in the fact that they put up something of a fight in recent qualifying outings against Switzerland and Italy.
Northern Ireland’s inability to qualify for Euro 2020 has almost certainly set them back a few steps in their quest to join England, Wales and even Scotland as a growing force within the United Kingdom. They just don’t seem to have that special spark in their squad that can help take them to the next level and given how small their group is, they’ll do very well to make it to next year’s World Cup. If they’re going to do so, this is already a must win scenario against their Lithuanian opponents.
Factors to Consider
- Lithuania and N Ireland haven’t met since 1993.
- Lithuania have lost both of their WCQ games so far.
- N Ireland have drawn one and lost one of their WCQ games so far.
- Lithuania and N Ireland both have yet to score in WCQ – the only other nation in Europe to do so is San Marino.
- Lithuania and N Ireland both failed to qualify for Euro 2020.
Every indication imaginable suggests this isn’t going to be a classic with both nations attempting to just figure out what kind of identity they’re going to have moving forward. We think it’s plausible that both nations will find their way onto the scoresheet but instead of representing a battle for World Cup qualification, we instead imagine it’ll fall short of expectations. Therefore, we’re backing a 1-1 draw with the standard resembling something we’re used to seeing in the Championship.
Best Odds: 23/10
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!