Northern Ireland to bounce back against winless Luxembourg
Northern Ireland have an immediate chance to bounce back from defeat to Portugal when they take on a Luxembourg side without a win during this World Cup qualification campaign.
Michael O’Neill’s men looked to be on their way to a famous victory at Windsor Park on Friday night when Derby County striker Jamie Ward bundled the Green and White army into the lead against Group F table toppers Portugal.
But Cristiano Ronaldo’s superlative second-half hat-trick shattered Northern Irish hearts and condemned them to a 4-2 defeat.
Despite the loss, O’Neill believes his side are heading in the right direction.
“You take the performance of the team [against Portugal], particularly for 60-65 minutes, I thought the energy and the shape of the team was very good,” the 44-year-old told Sky Sports.
“We were playing here against one of the top sides in Europe and people have to recognise that.”
Northern Ireland travel to the Stade Josy Barthel knowing they will be without the suspended duo of Kyle Lafferty and Chris Brunt after the pair were sent off in Belfast.
Rangers midfielder Dean Shiels and Burnley full-back Daniel Lafferty could both return to the side for the trip to Lëtzebuerg.
Shiels scored his only international goal in the home fixture against Luxembourg, before Daniel da Mota’s late goal gave the visitors a 1-1 draw.
Although things are expected to be tight once again in Luxembourg, Northern Ireland’s performance against Portugal and their famous 1-0 win over Russia in August should give the visitors confidence against a side who have not won a competitive fixture since their success over Albania in September 2011.
Northern Ireland are 11/10 with Ladbrokes for an away victory but the correct scores of 0-1 and 1-2 could prove tempting, priced at 13/2 and 10/1 respectively.
If you are expecting a repeat of the 1-1 draw between the two sides at Windsor Park then you can get 11/2 with Ladbrokes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.