Northern Ireland look to stretch their unbeaten record to 10 matches when they host Slovenia at Windsor Park, Belfast on 28th March 2016.
Michael O’Neill managed Northern Ireland side drawn against 1-1 Wales, after conceding a penalty goal in the 89th minute. Slovenia were 1-0 winners against Macedonia at their home on Wednesday and should expect a much tougher test against Norn Iron.
- Northern Ireland are unbeaten in their last 9 matches and hardly came against a tougher opposition during the period.
- There were 5 draws in those last 9 matches, with the 4 wins came against minnows Faroe Island, Latvia, Finland and a team in crisis Greece.
- At home, the Norn Iron are unbeaten in the last 7 matches and have managed wins in their last 2 matches.
- Slovenia lost only once in their last 6 matches, 2-0 against Ukraine in the Euro 2016 play-off on November 2015.
- Their last six matches have seen under 2.5 goals and they scored at least a goal in 5 of their last six matches.
- Their away form is pretty poor and lost 8 of their last 10 matches since 2014.
Northern Ireland: Team News
The 23-year old QPR striker Conor Washington made his debut for the Northern Ireland by starting against Wales, but he could be replaced by their star striker Kyle Laferty.
Peterborough United defender Michael Smith is a new face in the squad and could make his debut here from the bench, but there is plenty of talents in defence in the form of Craig Cathcart, Jonny Evans and Conor McLaughlin.
Southampton play-maker Steven Davis is likely to keep his place in the attacking front, while Nottingham Forest striker Jamie Ward could also start here.
Northern Ireland Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1):
McGovern – McAuley, Evans, McLaughlan, Cathcart – McNair, Norwood – Davis, Dallas, Lafferty – Ward.
Slovenia: Team News
Slovenia head-coach Srečko Katanec is likely to field the strongest possible eleven as he look for a win to boost the team morale ahead of the World Cup qualification campaign.
Atletico Madrid’s number one goal-keeper Jan Oblak will retain his place between the goal posts, so do the striker Roman Bezjak, who scored the only goal against Macedonia.
Josip Ilicic, the Fiorentina winger is the key player to watch in the Slovenian side, while the 36-year old veteran forward Milivoje Novakovic could also feature at some point in the game.
Slovenia Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1):
Oblak – Cesar, Jokic, Skubic, Samardzic – Kurtic, Krhin – Ilicic, Zajc, Verbic – Bezjak
Northern Ireland vs Slovenia: Head-to-Head Stats
- There were 4 meetings between the two sides so far with Northern Ireland winning 2, Slovenia 1 and there were 1 draw.
- Northern Ireland are unbeaten in their last 3 matches against Slovenia, with 2 wins and a draw.
- Their last meeting was a 0-0 draw played on March 2011, at Belfast, the same venue for this friendly fixture.
Northern Ireland vs Slovenia: Prediction
Michael O’Neill will be looking to test as many players as possible for the Euro 2016 finals in France and is very likely to experiment with formation and tactics here. Slovenia, who are didn’t qualify for Euros could do the same as they look to build the squad for World Cup qualifiers.
This could be a battle between two counter attacking sides and the result could go either way. Northern Ireland looks like a more settled side than Slovenia and could be considered favourites to win this match.
A draw is very likely outcome from this match, but the Norn Irons will fancy to win this win.
My score prediction is 1-1 and if I betting on accumulators, it will be double chance Northern Ireland or draw.