Northern Ireland v Norway Match Preview and Betting Tips

March 22, 2017

- Grant Whittington

Sunday 26 March – Windsor Park – World Cup Qualifier

Northern Ireland welcome Norway to Windsor Park on Sunday as Michael O’Neill’s side continue their push for a spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. With their passionate fans behind them, the Green and White Army are slight favourites in the betting to pick up a vital three points.

Past Meetings

The two teams have only played each other three times before, and just once since 1975. The last meeting was a friendly at Windsor Park in 2012, with Norway running out 3-0 winners in Michael O’Neill’s first game in charge of the Irish.

Team News

O’Neill welcomes Craig Cathcart back into his squad as the Watford defender continues his recovery from a groin injury, while fellow former Manchester United youngster Corry Evans is also called up despite a lack of game time at Blackburn. Will Grigg misses out with a knee injury, while Millwall’s Shane Ferguson is suspended.

Norway will have in-form Bournemouth striker Josh King leading their line, fresh from his hat trick against West Ham and clinical penalty at Old Trafford against Jose Mourinho’s side. The 25-year-old has two in qualifying for the World Cup so far, and will be looking to add to this on Sunday.

Northern Ireland v Norway Preview and Predictions

Northern Ireland currently sit second in Group C behind world champions Germany, level on seven points with Azerbaijan. It’s perhaps the Czech Republic a couple of points further back that Michael O’Neill needs to worry about most though, coupled with the fact Norway now have Lars Lagerbäck in charge. After guiding Iceland to an improbable quarter finals appearance at Euro 2016, the new manager can be backed at 9/4 to claim a win in his first game in charge.

Before losing 3-0 at home to Croatia in their last outing on November 15 though, Northern Ireland had gone 10 games unbeaten at Windsor Park. The run included eight wins and two draws, with only three goals conceded, and the betting is at 7/5 for O’Neill to rekindle this form.

Visitors Norway have lost both of their games away from home so far, including a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Azerbaijan. Lagerbäck’s new team need to start picking up points very soon if they’re to harbour any hopes of qualifying for the Russia showpiece. With tough fixtures against the Czech Republic and away to Germany on the horizon, the Norwegians are 2/1 to get a draw for their new boss.

Recommended Bets

Northern Ireland to win 4-0 at 80/1

Although it’ll be a tall order, at this price it’s well worth a punt for Northern Ireland to make it a hat trick of 4-0 wins at home in Group C.

Over 3.5 goals at 9/2

Although O’Neill’s side are known for their tight defence, they’re good going forward and Norway have an in-form Josh King, so a goal glut could be a solid bet.

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