Estonia vs Northern Ireland go head to head once again in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday 8th June at the Le Coq Arena in Tallinn. Michael O’Neill’s side will be looking to erase bad memories of their last visit to the Estonian capital when they were beaten 4-1.
They’ve picked up a maximum six points in their group so far, and with games against the Netherlands and Germany to come, they’ll know the importance of getting some points on board here. You can see our betting tips and predictions below.
Estonia to win – 10/3
Draw – 21/10
Northern Ireland to win – 19/20
Kick Off Time: 17:00pm
Date: Saturday 8th June 2019
Competition: Euro 2020 Qualifiers
Venue: Le Coq Arena (Tallinn)
Michael O’Neill’s side have made their typically solid start to the qualifying campaign with two largely predictable victories at Windsor Park. With Estonia and Belarus safely dispatched on home soil, they must now repeat that trick on the road. The games get tougher from here, but NI are equipped to pick up points from these types of fixtures, and if they have any hope of reaching Euro 2020, they can’t afford a slip-up here. The hosts have been poor in recent years, and have failed to score in five of their last seven games. They made hard work of a 1-0 win against Gibraltar in a recent friendly – although it’s difficult to read too much into that. They did win in Greece, and can be dangerous on their day, but a team with such little firepower will surely struggle to create chances against this tough NI defence. Northern Ireland’s away record is far from outstanding, but they did win in Azerbaijan during their World Cup qualification campaign, and if they are to head back home with three points, it is likely to be a very slender margin.
Mattias Kait of Fulham created the best chance when the sides met at Windsor Park earlier in the qualifying campaign, and although he could leave the West Londoners this summer, he is likely to feature here.
Frank Liivak and Henri Anier were both given game time against Gibraltar at the end of March, and will be hoping that they’ve done enough to earn a place in the XI.
Young Oxford midfielder Mark Sykes was a surprise inclusion in the squad, but he may have to settle for a place on the bench here.
Niall McGinn won’t feature after picking up an ankle injury whilst Will Grigg wasn’t selected following his disappointing end to the campaign at Sunderland. Oliver Norwood declared himself unavailable for these two games, and was not called up by Michael O’Neill.
Aaron Hughes, who has just been released retains his place in the squad, and may get some minutes here. Jordan Thompson, Stuart Dallas, Steven Davis, Liam Boyce and Paul Smyth are likely to feature in some capacity.
There were four different goalscorers for Northern Ireland in their two previous qualifying matches, and they don’t tend to rely on one player for their finishing ability. Very few goals are expected in this encounter, and it could be a low-scoring game settled by a set-piece. Therefore, Steven Davis may be the player to keep an eye on.
The midfielder hasn’t scored since joining Rangers, and his only two goals in the last calendar year have come on International Duty. He netted in the previous meeting between the pair, and is likely to step up to the spot if NI are awarded a penalty in this game. He could also be handy from a free-kick situation. The 34-year old isn’t getting any younger, but he still loves playing for his country, and could make the difference.
This fixture is unlikely to be a treat for the neutral, but NI fans will relish the chance to see their side scrapping away in Tallinn. The game was level at the break when they met at Windsor Park before two second half goals swung the tie in favour of the hosts. It could be a similar story once again.
Estonia have a real lack of goals in their side, and NI may not come under too much threat. Alternatively, Michael O’Neill’s side may have to rely on opportunities and opening from set-pieces, and the patient approach is probably the best way to go about things.
It is unlikely to be a high-scoring game, and it may be level at the break once again. Half Time – Draw is 3/4 with William Hill, and looks a decent bet for Saturday’s fixture.
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