11/12/20 2:45 pm
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Northern Ireland is welcoming Slovakia to Windsor Park in the final game of the Euro Cup qualification playoffs.
Northern Ireland has won only 1 of their last 7 games, and that was against Bosnia in the semifinals of these qualification playoffs after the penalty shootout. In their last 2 Nations League games, Northern Ireland has conceded 2 goals while scoring 0 goals, and they ended up losing both of those games. In their last Nations League game against Norway on the road, Northern Ireland has had 39% of ball possession, 4 shots on goal, 3 corner kicks, 1 big chance created, and 80% of the correct passes. Northern Ireland has lost this game by an own goal in the 67th minute. McGinn has scored 5 goals for Northern Ireland in the Euro Cup qualifications, while Magennis added 3 assists. Northern Ireland might not be good in the Nations League, and their form is terrible, but they are a good team, and as we saw in their game against Bosnia, Northern Ireland definitely capable of beating teams stronger than them, the only question is if they can do it twice in a row, and when it matters the most.
Same as Northern Ireland, Slovakia is not in good form, and they have won only 1 of their last 5 games. Slovakia has beaten Ireland in the semifinals of these qualification playoffs, also after the penalty shootout. In their last 2 Nations League games, Slovakia has played against Scotland and Israel, and they have lost both of those games. Bozenik and Hamsik have each scored 3 goals for Slovakia in the Euro Cup qualifications, while Kucka added 2 goals. Slovakia is coming into this game with their strongest lineup at the moment, and they are a good team. In their last Nations League game against Israel, Slovakia has had 49% of ball possession, 5 shots on goal, 5 corner kicks, 1 big chance created, and a solid 85% of the correct passes. Slovakia has had 2-0 lead at half time, but they lost focus in the second half, and Slovakia has conceded 3 goals in the second half. Slovakia ended up losing this game 2-3. The last major competition for Slovakia was the Euro Cup in 2016 where they reached the Round of 16, but Slovakia didn’t qualify for the World Cup in Russia 2 years ago. Slovakia is a good team, and they have a few good players on their roster, and I believe they have enough quality to get to the Euro Cup next year.
Northern Ireland has never beaten Slovakia in the past, and I don’t think they will beat them now. Northern Ireland is a decent team, but I think Slovakia is better, and I think Slovakia is playing better soccer.