Borisov Arena - Euro 2020 Qualifying
Northern Ireland are looking to continue their 100% start to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign as they travel to Belarus on Tuesday. A victory for the visitors is crucial if they’re going to have any chance of getting to next summer’s showpiece.
These countries have only ever played each other twice, with the first meeting a friendly at Windsor Park just over three years ago. Northern Ireland won 3-0 that day, and were 2-1 winners when the teams met in March in this qualifying group.
Josh Magennis is hoping for a start after coming off the bench to score the winning goal for his country for the second time in as many matches. Conor Washington also scored after coming on at half-time, and is pushing Liam Boyce for a start.
Belarus switched formation at home to Germany on Saturday, going five at the back to try and nullify the 2014 world champions. That worked to an extent, with the superior Germans only winning 2-0, but the home team are likely to revert to their usual back four in this game.
Belarus v Northern Ireland Preview and Predictions
This is a must-win game for Northern Ireland if they’re going to have any chance of getting to Euro 2020. The Nations League is highly unlikely to give them another route to next summer’s showpiece, while the Irish play Germany and the Netherlands home and away in their four remaining fixtures.
It’s three from three so far for Michael O’Neill’s side, who completed the double over Estonia with an excellent late comeback on Saturday. A goal down with little more than 10 minutes left, Magennis scored the winner just like he did in the game against Belarus in Belfast.
The Irish have to take three points from this one, and they are 9/5 to do so. That would leave them with 12 points, and hoping Germany and Holland can take the necessary points off each other to allow Ireland to sneak in.
Belarus on the other hand have no chance of qualification now, after losing their first three matches of the campaign. Two of those were against the heavyweight sides in the section, but they’re looking to restore some pride here. They are 7/4 to do that with a win, with the draw priced at 11/5.
Northern Ireland to win and BTTS at 11/2
Ireland conceded at home to Belarus and also away in Estonia last time out, so they may need to score twice to win this crucial game.
Northern Ireland to win 2-1 at 10/1
The Irish aren’t big scorers though, so it’s unlikely they’ll be able to concede more than one to win, while they’re not likely to bang in more than two themselves.