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Euro 2016 Qualifier preview and odds: Northern Ireland vs. Greece

Published on: 07/10/2015

Euro 2016 Qualifier preview and odds: Northern Ireland vs. Greece

October 8, 2015 19:45pm – Windsor Park

Euro 2016 – Group F

Northern Ireland will reach their first ever European Championship finals if they can beat under-performing Greece in Belfast in their Group F clash on Thursday night.

A first major tournament in 30 years beckons for Northern Ireland

When Northern Ireland last stepped onto the field of play to contest a major tournament, many of the current squad had not even been born. But while the 1986 World Cup in Mexico remains a distant memory, the reality of qualification for Euro 2016 is now just one positive result away.

The team in green and white have had a remarkable campaign under boss Michael O´Neill having lost just one game since their Euro 2016 quest began last year. A win against Group F strugglers Greece would be enough to secure their berth in France next summer and spark celebrations in Belfast.

Onwards and upwards for Greece

The only way is up for Greece as they look to put a woeful year behind them and start preparing for the future. They entered this group as top seeds and favourites but have failed to win a single game and now sit desperately at the bottom of the group.

Since the last World Cup, Greece have had four men in charge including current Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri. The Italian lost four out five games in charge - including a humiliating defeat to the Faroe Islands - before being relieved of his duties. Replacement Sergio Markarian did not fare much better also leading the team to defeat against the Faroes before being dismissed. Meanwhile, current caretaker boss Kostas Tsanas did steady the ship slightly with a draw in the last game against Romania, but with just two goals scored in their last eight games, it is quite clear where the Greeks are lacking.

Team news

Jonny Evans suffered a hamstring injury playing in the Premier League for West Brom last weekend and is a doubt for Northern Ireland, while Chris Baird, Kyle Lafferty and Connor McLaughlin are all suspended.

The Greeks will be without defender Kostas Manolas who is suspended for this match, while Kyriakos Papadopoulos will also miss out through injury.

Recent form (Euro Qualifying)

Northern Ireland: DWDWL

Greece: DLLDL

Betting odds and tips

This is a game between two teams who have been in contrasting form and have very different objectives. Northern Ireland are looking to finalize a debut Euro qualification, while Greece are out to restore some pride by avoiding a last-place finish in the group. Despite a glimmer of improvement from Greece last time out, the home side should have no trouble overcoming their visitors and can backed at 13/8 with Betfred. With Greece short of fire power up front, the 5/2 price on offer from Betvictor for a home Win to Nil also looks good.

Published on: 07/10/2015

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (07/10/2015 13:03:41) but are subject to change.