The managers of Wales and Northern Ireland will be using the opportunity to test their players ahead of Euro 2016 when the sides meet in a friendly match at Cardiff on 24th March 2016.
On the background, there is a story of two teams that have qualified for the Euros for the first time in their football history. Lies ahead is a perfect opportunities for a new crop of players to test their metal against some of Europe’s best teams.
Wales fell to a 3-2 defeat at home against Netherlands in their first warm-up match since qualifying for Euro 2016, which marked their second defeat in 3 matches.
Wales have won only once in their last three matches and that came against the minnows Andorra.
At home, Wales have lost just once in 9 matches, with 5 wins and 3 draws. Six of the last home matches for Wales have seen under 2.5 goals.
Northern Ireland have beaten Latvia 1-0 in their first warm-up match and stretched their unbeaten run to 7 matches, 4 wins and 3 draws. Three out of their last four matches have seen under 2.5 goals.
Northern Ireland are unbeaten in their last two away games, but lost in the previous two.
Wales: Team News
Wales will be without their star players Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey. Bale who has scored 7 goals in the qualifying stages will be missed here, but it also opens opportunities for other players to impress the head coach Chris Coleman.
West Ham defender James Collins is injured, while Andy King may miss due to illness. Totteham Hotspur youngster Ben Davies has been called up as a replacement and could feature at some stage in the match.
Wales Predicted line-up (3-5-2): Hennessey – Gunter, Williams, Davies – Richards, MacDonald, Allen, Ledley, Taylor – Vokes, Robson-Kanu.
Northern Ireland: Team News
Michel O’Neill has dropped midfielder Paul Paton, who is struggling for form and called up Michael Smith and Conor Washington, who may make their debuts here.
Norwich City striker Kyle Laferty has scored 7 goals in the qualifiers for Northern Ireland and he is certain to start against Wales on Wednesday.
Northern Ireland Predicted line-up (3-5-2): McGovern – McNair, McAuley, Evans – McLaughlan, Davis, Baird, Norwood, Dallas – Ward, Lafferty.
Wales vs Northern Ireland: Head-to-Head Stats
There were 7 meetings between the two sides and Wales have won in 3 of them, while 3 were draws and Northern Ireland won in their first ever meeting in 1954.
This also means that Wales are unbeaten in the last 6 matches against Northern Ireland.
This will be the first meeting between them since 2011, where Wales won the last meeting by 2-0.
Wales vs Northern Ireland: Prediction
Both teams are expected to come out with a strong defensive set-up as the predicted formation suggests and goals will be far and few. Wales are missing two key players – Bale and Ramsey and could prove to be decisive factor in this clash. Northern Ireland will be keen to hold on to their unbeaten run and will be happy with a draw.
And it is hard to separate the teams on paper or on field and are built on similar playing style and principles. A draw is more likely at Cardiff on Wednesday and I expect under 2.5 goals.