Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Prediction: Romania vs Northern Ireland

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 21 Mar 2024

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Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Unibet

Romania and Northern Ireland will kick off their 2024 endeavors with a friendly match in Bucharest on Friday evening.

As Romania continues their preparations for Euro 2024, Northern Ireland aim to regain form ahead of the upcoming UEFA Nations League campaign in September.

Romania

Romania are currently gearing up for their fourth major tournament appearance since the turn of the millennium, all of which have been at the European Championships. Edward Iordanescu joins the list of managers who have guided this country to this stage.

Currently, Iordanescu’s side is enjoying an 11-match undefeated streak in all competitions, with their last loss dating back to a 2-1 defeat against Slovenia in a friendly in November 2022. While they had four draws in a tough qualifying group including Switzerland, Israel, Belarus, Kosovo, and Andorra, Romania finished strong with four wins in their last five matches, including a crucial victory over Switzerland on the final matchday, securing the top spot in the group.

Now, with a promising group stage draw against Belgium, Slovakia, and a playoff-winning team at Euro 2024, Romania’s immediate focus lies on friendly encounters with Northern Ireland and Colombia.

Team News

While the core of the Romania team remains intact from their victory over Switzerland, manager Edward Iordanescu might make some changes to the starting lineup for the upcoming friendly.

Ianis Hagi and George Puscas are likely candidates to return to the starting lineup, providing a boost in attacking roles. Additionally, newcomers such as defender Bogdan Racovitan and midfielder Adrian Sut may get the opportunity to make their debuts during the match.

Experienced midfielder Razvan Marin could also be reintroduced to the lineup, providing stability and leadership in the middle of the pitch.

Northern Ireland

Michael O’Neill faces a challenging task to rejuvenate Northern Ireland’s fortunes after a disappointing qualifying campaign. Despite being drawn in a favorable group, the Northern Irish struggled to make an impact, securing only two victories against San Marino while failing to score in six out of seven losses.

The return of O’Neill as manager should bring some hope for improvement, but there’s a need for new solutions and tactical adjustments to address the team’s shortcomings. With just five wins in their last 18 matches across all competitions, including only avoiding defeats in matches against lower-ranked opponents like Luxembourg, Cyprus, and San Marino, Northern Ireland must elevate their performance levels to compete more effectively.

At this point, it seems quite a daunting task.

Team News

The absence of Dale Taylor presents an opportunity for Jordan Thompson to reclaim his place in Northern Ireland’s starting lineup. Additionally, Conor Bradley is expected to return at right-back after missing out previously.

Manager Michael O’Neill may opt for minimal changes to the team that faced Denmark in November, given their positive performance in that match. However, newcomers Aaron Donnelly, Caolan Boyd-Munce, and Jamie Reid will be eager for opportunities to earn their first caps and could feature later in the game as substitutes.

Conclusion

Given that both teams are likely to field their strongest lineups, Romania appear to have the upper hand in this contest. While Northern Ireland may have their moments and could score, the home side is expected to secure a convincing victory.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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