Northern Ireland v Estonia Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
March 19, 2019
Windsor Park - Euro 2020 Qualifying
Mission impossible begins for Northern Ireland as they take on Estonia at Windsor Park in their Euro 2020 qualifying opener. Michael O’Neill’s side have been drawn with Germany and the Netherlands in a five-team group, so this is a must-win game.
These two countries have only ever met four times. Northern Ireland won two friendlies in 2004 and 2006 1-0, while they were paired together in qualifying for Euro 2012. Estonia won 4-1 at home before coming from behind to get a 2-1 victory at Windsor Park a couple of months later.
Blackburn’s Corry Evans is an injury doubt for Northern Ireland, who will also be without Oliver Norwood, Trevor Carson and Michael Smith for this match. Will Grigg and Conor Washington are back in the fold after absences, while Arsenal youngster Daniel Ballard has been rewarded with his first international call-up.
Estonia’s squad may be short on quality, but it’s certainly not lacking in experience. Taijo Teniste, Gert Kams, Karol Mets, Sergei Zenjov and Henri Anier all have more than 50 caps for their country, while Konstantin Vassiljev and Dmitri Kruglov have both racked up more than 100 each.
Northern Ireland v Estonia Preview and Predictions
The Nations League will offer an alternative route to next summer’s Euro 2020 finals, and that’s just as well for Northern Ireland. The same goes for Estonia of course, who are looking to upset the odds when they pitch up to Windsor Park on Thursday night.
The visitors are unbeaten in their last three matches, which have all been away from home. They beat Greece 1-0, before a 2-1 victory over Finland and a goalless draw against Iceland. However, Estonia are ranked 96th in the world, 60 places below Northern Ireland, and are the 8/1 underdogs in the betting.
O’Neill’s side are 1/2 to get their campaign off to a good start with three points. NI had a poor Nations League campaign, losing all four of their fixtures against Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina, so they’re aiming to get back on track here.
However, the Green and White Army have excelled in their last two qualifying campaigns, topping their Euro 2016 qualifying group, before finishing ahead of the Czech Republic and Norway in coming second to Germany in qualifying for last summer’s World Cup. With that in mind, a draw would be a bad result for the home team, and it’s priced at 3/1.
Northern Ireland to win and under 2.5 goals at 33/20
Only one of either countries’ last four matches have seen three goals or more, while NI are the favourites to get the win.
Will Grigg to score first at 9/2
Cult hero Grigg is back in the squad after injury, and he is 12/1 to mark his return by scoring the only goal of the game.