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3 reasons why Northern Ireland will avoid defeat in Greece

| 14.10.2014

Northern Ireland currently top Euro 2016 qualifying Group F with six points from two games, and look wildly overpriced at 11/8 on the double chance for a win or draw against Greece in Athens.

Don’t believe us? Here are three compelling reasons why:

Based on form lines so far in Group F, O’Neill’s men have at least a draw in the bag

Claudio Ranieri has overseen a home loss to Romania and a 1-1 draw in Finland since taking over as Ethniki boss from Fernando Santos.

Conversely, the Green and Whites have beaten Hungary 2-1 in Budapest and saw off Faroe Islands at home much easier than the 2-0 scoreline suggested, with both goals coming within the first 20 minutes.

Having taken into account the Magical Magyars’ subsequent 1-1 draw in Bucharest, O’Neill’s mini-league leaders will feel justifiably confident of taking something back to Ulster from this Athens clash.

Northern Ireland have plenty of previous for over-performing in qualifying in recent years

Qualification success of any kind may have evaded them since the 1986 World Cup, but Northern Ireland have grabbed away draws in competitive action against Poland, Czech Republic, Portugal, Israel and Cyprus since September 2009.

They’ve also shared the spoils at home Italy, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan during that period, while O’Neill presided over a 1-0 win over Russia at Windsor Park in August 2013.

The hosts have scored more than once just twice in their last 11 fixtures

In direct correlation, Greece have only won twice during the aforementioned run, with their last home victory of any kind coming against Romania in the second-leg of their 2014 World Cup qualifying play-off.

Their last two fixtures at the Karaiskakis Stadium have ended with South Korea and Romania trotting off with wins to nil under their armpits.

Northern Ireland look rather big already at 11/2 to beat Ranieri’s men, but a victory without concession is available at 8/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune