Northern Ireland is welcoming Italy to Windsor Park in round 10 of Group C in the UEFA World Cup Qualifications. Northern Ireland has lost every chance to qualify for the World Cup, and they are now playing only for prestige. Italy is at the top right now, but Switzerland has the same number of points, which means Italy needs a win here to qualify directly for the World Cup.
Northern Ireland hasn’t been scoring a lot of goals in these qualifications, only 6, but their defense has been solid with only 7 conceded goals. Northern Ireland is now in 3rd place, and frankly, it doesn’t matter where they end up in these qualifications. Northern Ireland was playing against Lithuania just a few days ago, and they were a much better team in that game, they have created some good chances, and they have deservedly won that game 1-0. Washington is now the leading goalscorer for Northern Ireland with only 2 goals. There are a few great players from the EPL in Northern Ireland, but they lack offense, and they just can’t get a decent enough coach behind these players.
We all know who Italy is, we all know they have won the Euro Cup this past summer, and we all know how well they can play, but it has happened quite often lately that Italy has a chance or a penalty kick to win a game, and they don’t. in their latest game against Switzerland at home, Italy was the dominant team with 64% of ball possession, 4 shots on goal, 6 corner kicks, 3 big chances created, and a solid 87% of the correct passes. After conceding a goal in the 11th minute, Italy bounced back in the 36th minute when Di Lorenzo tied the score. In the 90th minute, Italy was awarded a penalty kick, which if they scored would have secured the top spot for them in this group, but Jorginho missed, the game ended in a 1-1 draw, and Italy now has to win this game against Northern Ireland. Kean, Di Lorenzo, and Immobile are the leading goalscorers for Italy with 2 goals each, and while Kean is injured, Immobile and Di Lorenzo should be ready to play. I know this is a great team not led by their ego, or better yet stopped by their ego, and Mancini is an excellent coach, but Italy now must focus, they need to start scoring more goals again, and they will quickly become one of the favorites to win the World Cup.
Italy has never lost to Northern Ireland and seeing how this is a very important game for them, I don’t think they will lose here. Northern Ireland isn’t scoring a lot, and I don’t see them scoring here as well.