Preview: Israel vs. Northern Ireland

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier between Israel and Northern Ireland.

Israel will attempt to build on their positive result against Portugal last week when they welcome Northern Ireland in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

The home side picked up a 1-1 draw against Portugal on Friday, a result that left them in third spot in Group F, but they are without a chance of finishing second, with the Portuguese sitting five points above them.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, suffered their fifth defeat of this particular qualifying campaign on Friday when they lost 2-0 in Azerbaijan. They have won just once in Group F, but those three points came in a surprise 1-0 win over group leaders Russia in August.

The corresponding fixture in March ended in a 2-0 win for Israel, but Northern Ireland did pick up a 1-1 draw when the two sides met in August 2009.

Israel have no fresh injury concerns from their draw with Portugal last time out and could name an unchanged XI, which would include familiar faces Dudu Aouate and experienced defender Tal Ben Haim.

Former Swansea City striker Itay Shechter is also pushing for a spot in the team, but Eden Ben Basat is expected to keep his spot in attack.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, will be without Manchester United defender Jonny Evans after his red card against Azerbaijan on Friday. His absence will open up a spot in defence for either Chris Baird or Alex Bruce.

Changes could also be made in attack with Andrew Little, William Grigg and Billy McKay all pushing for spots in the final third.

Recent form

Israel: WLDLD

Northern Ireland: LWLLL

Possible starting lineups

Israel: Aouate; Ben Haim, Tibi, Meshumar, Harush; Natcho, Yeini, Zahavi, Radi; Barda, Basat

Northern Ireland: Carroll; Hodson, McAuley, Cathcart, Baird; Ferguson, Norwood, Davis, Brunt; Paterson, Grigg

Sports Mole says: 2-0

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Portugal's Fabio Coentrao celebrates scoring against Israel during the World Cup qualifying match on March 22, 2013
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