MX23RW : Tuesday, August 16 10:58:21| >> :600:5612394:5612394:
[monks data]
Jun 2, 2022 at 7.45pm UK at Windsor Park
N. Ireland
0 - 1
Greece

Whyte (41'), McNair (90+6')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Bakasetas (39')
Tzavellas (84'), Mantalos (90+3')

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Nations League clash between Northern Ireland and Greece, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Northern Ireland begin life in League C Group 2 of the UEFA Nations League with a home fixture against Greece on Thursday.

The visitors only narrowly missed out on promotion during the last campaign, and both nations will be wanting to make a fast start in a group which they will expect to win.


Match preview

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough on March 31, 2021© Reuters

There have been times when Ian Baraclough has not necessarily looked the right fit for Northern Ireland, the former Under-21s boss failing to win any of his opening 11 matches in charge.

However, the second half of his 22-game stint has been much improved, the Green and White army earning five wins and posting notable draws with Switzerland and Italy.

The stalemate with the Azzurri, which ultimately cost the European champions a place at the World Cup, really caught the supporters imagination, and there is now genuine expectation that they can achieve success in this competition.

The upcoming quartet of fixtures will be tough on the legs and minds of an inexperienced squad, but victory over Greece would really set the ball rolling as they bid to earn a return to League B.

On a negative point, Northern Ireland went down 1-0 to Hungary in the last outing, ending a three-match unbeaten streak.

Greece coach Gus Poyet during the match on March 28, 2022© Reuters

As far as Greece are concerned, they are very much starting a new era with the well-travelled Gus Poyet being appointed as their new boss.

The left-field choice has delivered a mixed return so far, a 1-0 win in Romania being followed by defeat by the same scoreline in Montenegro.

For Poyet, he would have been grateful to work with his new set of players ahead of this campaign, and the Uruguayan is currently overseeing a group which includes just one outfield player who is over 30 years of age.

The biggest negative is that none of this squad have scored more than five times for their country, a record which should come as no surprise when Greece have not netted more than twice in a game since 2017.

On the flip side, Greece have not conceded more than twice in a fixture for three years, something which should provide Poyet with reason for optimism going forward.

Northern Ireland form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Greece form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L


Team News

Jonny Evans pictured for Northern Ireland in March 2019© Reuters

Jonny Evans will return in the middle of the Northern Ireland defence, taking the place of Craig Cathcart who does not feature in the squad.

Kyle Lafferty could also deputise for the absent Josh Magennis, while Jamal Lewis may feature at left wing-back ahead of Paddy Lane.

Meanwhile, Poyet may hand an immediate Greece debut to George Baldock as a result of Lefteris Lyratzis not being in the squad.

Giorgos Masouras could get the nod in a wide position in the absence of Dimitris Pelkas, but Vangelis Pavlidis should keep his place in attack.

Having not gotten on the pitch in the Champions League final, Liverpool left-back Kostas Tsimikas is in line to play.

Northern Ireland possible starting lineup:
Peacock-Farrell; Brown, Evans, Ballard; McNair, Davis, McCann, Lewis; Whyte, Lafferty, McGinn

Greece possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Baldock, Mavropanos, Chatzidiakos, Tsimikas; Bouchalakis, Siopis, Bakasetas; Douvikas, Pavlidis, Masouras


SM words green background

We say: Northern Ireland 1-1 Greece

With both nations seemingly on the up, this should be a competitive encounter. Northern Ireland will start as the marginal favourites, but we are expecting the visitors to strike in the final third at some stage, earning a draw that will be deemed more than satisfactory by their supporters.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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How you voted: N. Irelvs vs Greece

Northern Ireland
40.0%
Draw
25.2%
Greece
34.8%
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Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough on March 31, 2021
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