World Cup qualifier preview; Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria – Narrow win Correct Score Predicted
2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier preview: UEFA Group C – Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria – Windsor Park, Belfast – Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 19:45 hrs. BST
Northern Ireland will host Bulgaria at Windsor Park, Belfast, on Wednesday for a Group C clash of the WC 2022 World Cup Qualifier. Both nations will be seeking to record their first wins, with Bulgaria having already lost their Group C games at home to Italy and Switzerland.
Northern Ireland form guide: L-L-D-L-L
Bulgaria form guide: L-L-D-L-W
Northern Ireland team news
Newcastle defender Jamal Lewis is expected to return from a groin injury and start in a left-back role.
21-year-old center-back Daniel Ballard who impressed in Northern Ireland's defeat to USA in an international friendly, is likely to keep his place in the back three, alongside Craig Cathcart and Jonny Evans. Striker Kyle Lafferty could come in at the expense of one of the duo of Josh Magennis and Gavin Whyte.
Bulgaria team news
Experienced center-back Vasil Bozhikov and Brazil-born wing-back Cicinho should once again start in new Bulgaria boss Yasen Petrov's favoured 3-5-2 formation on Wednesday. Bologna center-back Valentin Antov who started against Italy but was benched against Switzerland, will hope to keep his spot among the back three alongside Dimitar Dimov and Petar Zanev.
Northern Ireland Predicted XI in a 4-1-3-2 formation: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (GK); Stuart Dallas, Johnny Evans, Craig Cathcart, Michael Smith; Patrick McNair; Alistair McCann, Steven Davis, Corry Evans; Josh Magennis, Kyle Lafferty
Bulgaria Predicted XI in a 3-5-2 formation: Plamen Iliev (GK); Dimitar Dimov, Valentin Antov, Petar Zanev; Cicinho, Georgi Kostandinov, Ivalyo Chochev, Kristiyan Malinov, Momchil Tsvetanov; Kiril Despodov, Andrey Galabinov
Their last meeting at the international level was in a friendly in 2008 when the Green and White Army lost 0-1 courtesy an own goal from Jonny Evans.
Northern Ireland's main problem will be to find finishing quality in the final third, but the given the desperate situation they are in, they may just come up one better than the Bulgarians at Windsor Park.
Bet365 odds are subject to change and were correct as of 29/03/2021.
Northern Ireland to win: 10/11
Bulgaria to win: 18/5
Correct score Odds
Northern Ireland 1-0: 9/2 (predicted score line)
Draw 1-1: 5/1 (probable score line)
Draw 0-0: 11/2
Northern Ireland 2-0: 7/1
Northern Ireland 2-1: 8/1
Bulgaria 1-0: 9/1
Bulgaria 2-1: 16/1
Northern Ireland 3-0: 14/1
Draw 2-2: 18/1
Northern Ireland 3-1: 18/1
Bulgaria 2-0: 20/1
Northern Ireland 3-2: 40/1