UEFA Nations League Romania v Northern Ireland Preview

UEFA Nations League Preview

UEFA Nations League 2020 – 21, Group B1 – Romania v Northern Ireland Preview – Arena Nationala, Bucharest – September 4, 2020 – 19:45hrs BST

Romania v Northern Ireland Preview

Northern Ireland commence their Nations League Group B1 campaign with a trip to Romania with both sides seeking to improve on their performances last year.

Ian Barraclough took over reins from Michael O’Neill as Northern Ireland coach after their 6-1 defeat by Germany in their final Euro 2021 qualifier in November 2019.

The men in green struggled in this tournament two years ago, failing to pick up a single point from a Group that had Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria. They have in  their cluster Austria and Norway this time around apart from their forthcoming rivals Romania.

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Baraclough has inherited a squad packed full of experienced performers, with the likes of Jonny Evans, Craig Cathcart, Steven Davis and Kyle Lafferty forming the backbone of the team.

Oxford United midfielder Joel Cooper could make his senior debut against the Romanians, while midfielder Mark Sykes has been left out of the squad.

The Green and White Army are likely to adopt a defence-minded approach in Friday’s game in Bucharest, but preventing Romania from scoring in Bucharest will not be easy.

Their last meeting at the Arena Nationala had ended badly with the Romanians winning 2-0.

Romania had ended 2019 without a win in three, losing their last two international outings 0-5 to Spain and 0-2 to Sweden.

The Tricolours finished second to Serbia in their Group C pool in last season's Nations League, drawing twice against the table toppers.

The Romanians now have a new boss in Mirel Radoi who is defensive-minded and will make sure his side comes out with a clean sheet on Friday night. Rangers playmaker Ianis Hagi, son of the legendary Gheorghe Hagi, and Reading striker George

Puscas are two notable players in the Romanian outfit. Slavia Prague winger Nicolae Stanciu is another player to watch out for going forward, while Sassuolo defender Vlad Chiriches, who spent a couple of years at Tottenham, lend plenty of experience to the side.

Romania v Northern selected Odds & Prediction

Romania head into the game as favourites having won two of their last five fixtures on home soil. Their last three games have produced under 2.5 goals, which points to a tight game with both teams looking to avoid defeat.

Bet365 odds quoted and are subject to change. Correct as of 02/09/2020.

  • Romania to win: 6/4
  • Northern Ireland to win: 23/10
  • Draw: 9/4

Correct score odds

  • Draw 1-1: 11/2
  • Romania 1-0: 5/1
  • Draw 0-0: 13/2
  • Romania 2-0: 17/2 (predicted scoreline)
  • Northern Ireland 2-1: 11/1
  • Northern Ireland 2-0: 14/1
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