Wales vs Northern Ireland
Euro 2016 – Round of 16
Date: Saturday, June 25, 2016,
Kick-off: 17:00 UK Time
Venue: Parc des Princes (Paris).
Wales will face neighbors Northern Ireland in the Euro 2016 Round of 16 clash on Saturday night at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
Wales were the dark horses in Group B, but surprisingly top the group with 2 wins and 1 draw above England. Chris Coleman managed side has scored in all three games of the tournament so far, with their star striker Gareth Bale scoring in each of them. They might have even remained unbeaten if not for Daniel Sturridge to score the winner in England’s 2-1 win in the second group game.
Northern Ireland qualified to the knock-outs as one of the best third placed team, helped by a surprise 2-0 win over Ukraine. They lost to both Germany and Poland by the same 1-0 score line, which means despite their low stature they could give their opponents a tough time on their night.
Wales Team News:
Chris Coleman has no injury concerns ahead of the round of 16 clash against Northern Ireland. Only 8 players have started in all three matches of group stages, which also suggests that he could alter his line-up to counter specific threats.
But we expect him to stick with the same starting line-up that earned his team a 3-0 win against Russia in the last group game.
Wales: Predicted Line-up (3-4-3)
Hennessey – Chester, Williams, Davies – Gunter, Ledley, Allen, Taylor – Ramsey, Voakes, Bale.
Northern Ireland Team News:
Just like his opposite number, Michael O’Neil also has the luxury of a fully fit squad at his disposal. Connor Washington and Jamie Ward are expected to keep their place in the starting line-up, while Kyle Lafferty will have to satisfy with the place in the bench.
Northern Ireland Predicted Line-up (4-5-1)
McGovern – J.Evans, Cathcart, McAuley, Hughes– Dallas, Norwood, Davis, C.Evans, Ward – Washington.
Wales vs Northern Ireland: Head-to-Head Stats
Wales are unbeaten in the last 5 meetings between Northern Ireland with 2 wins, however 3 of those were draws.
The latest meeting between the sides was a friendly on March 2016 at Cardiff, where an 89th minute penalty goal from Simon Church cancelled out Craig Cathcart’s 60th minute strike to help Wales earn a 1-1 draw.
Wales vs Northern Ireland: Prediction
Wales looked like a strong and organized unit in the group games and they are built on the back of a hard working midfield. Moreover they have a knack of finding crucial goals at the right time. Wales have scored a goal in the first half in each of their first three games and there is a higher probability for the same to happen on Saturday’s round of 16 clash.
Northern Ireland must not have the quality of players like their opponents, but they are also a hard working unit. They have an extremely composed defense which had never let more than 1 goal in the last 16 matches. Their main problem is the build-up play to attack, which is rather slow and easily tackled by their opponents.
Wales are strong favorites to win this one and backing them to take a lead in the first half offers good return of investment. Northern Ireland players offered little in going forward and they are unlikely to trouble the Welsh defense from open play. At the same time, they must be considered extremely dangerous from set piece situations.
The game is expected to see few goals with Wales grabbing a 1-0 win at full-time. At the same time, I am not ruling out the chances of seeing a 0-0 draw which leads to extra time. And I believe the safest pick for this match is under 2.5 goals.
Exact Score Prediction: Wales 1-0 Northern Ireland (5.00).
- Wales to win (2.05)
- Under 2.5 goals (1.36)
- Gareth Bale to score any-time
- Wales to win at Half-Time (2.87) [Risky].