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Preview: Northern Ireland vs. Netherlands - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Euro 2020 qualifying clash between Northern Ireland and Netherlands, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Northern Ireland host the Netherlands in Euro 2020 qualifying Group C as both fight to secure automatic qualification to next summer's showpiece event.

The hosts must match Germany's result against Belarus in order to remain in contention for qualification, while the Netherlands simply need a point to secure their place at the finals of the tournament.

Match Preview

Stuart Dallas in action for Northern Ireland on October 10, 2019© Reuters

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has been appointed as manager of Championship side Stoke City but will continue to fulfil his duties as national team boss until the end of the qualifying campaign.

O'Neill's side have produced an impressive qualifying campaign so far that has given them an outside chance of qualifying automatically from a group containing the Netherlands and Germany, losing their last two against the pair but winning each of their four other games until that point.

Northern Ireland are just three points off the top two but a win against the Oranje is likely to be necessary to keep their hopes alive, with Germany expected to win against Belarus.

However, the last meeting between these two sides resulted in a 3-1 home win for Koeman's side despite Northern Ireland taking the lead in the 75th minute.

There is comparatively little pressure on the Netherlands, who simply need a point to secure themselves an automatic qualification place.

However, the Oranje will still be motivated to win, as only maximum points from their final two games can assure them of top spot in the group, with second-placed Germany likely to win against Belarus and Estonia.

Koeman's side have lost just one qualifying game so far in this campaign - a 3-2 home defeat against Germany - and have conceded just two goals against teams other than Germany in the group.

The Netherlands also have yet to score fewer than two goals in a group stage game, racking up an impressive 19 strikes from just six games so far.

Northern Ireland form: WWWWLL
Netherlands form: WLWWWW

Team News

Donyell Malen celebrates scoring for the Netherlands on September 6, 2019© Reuters

Netherlands head coach Koeman is without two members of his feared strikeforce, with a third a doubt.

Free-scoring PSV Eindhoven pair Donyell Malen and Steven Bergwijn have both been ruled out with ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively, and could be replaced by Luuk de Jong and Ryan Babel in the starting lineup.

Meanwhile, Memphis Depay - who scored two of the three goals in the last meeting with Northern Ireland - also looks unlikely to start despite being called up.

Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Davy Propper is also unavailable with a knock and misses out.

O'Neill, on the other hand, has no injury problems to deal with and can name the same team that played in the last game if he chooses.

Northern Ireland possible starting lineup:
Peacock-Farrell; Smith, Cathcart, J. Evans, Ferguson; C. Evans; Dallas, McNair, Davis, Saville; Lafferty

Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Cillessen; Veltman, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Blind; F. De Jong, Wijnaldum, Van de Beek; Promes, L. de Jong, Babel

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We say: Northern Ireland 1-3 Netherlands

Northern Ireland nearly pulled off a shock result in the last meeting between these two and produced a solid defensive performance until their late collapse. However, likely needing a win will force the hosts to play a more expansive game than they might like to, which should play into Netherlands' hands and give them a convincing win to secure their place at Euro 2020 while dashing Northern Ireland's automatic qualification hopes.

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Jonny Evans pictured for Northern Ireland in March 2019
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