NORTHERN Ireland can qualify for Euro 2016 with victory against Hungary on Monday night. Will they get the three points? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) looks at the odds.
Northern Ireland v Hungary | Monday 19:45 | Sky Sports 5
History beckons for Northern Ireland with the 2016 European Championships within touching distance. It would be their first tournament experience since the 1986 World Cup and victory here would wrap up qualification.
Smaller and hitherto unsuccessful nations like Northern Ireland, Iceland and Wales seem to have been carried away on a wave of momentum in this campaign. I can’t recall a similar qualifying tournament like this and it must be to do with the fact that two teams automatically qualify. The number of high-stakes games have been reduced therefore alleviating pressure.
Michael O’Neill’s side have dropped just five points in this group and have won five of their seven matches, a remarkable record. They opened the group with a 2-1 win in Hungary and kicked on from there. Now it’s gone full circle and they have a chance to clinch qualification against the same side.
Hungary themselves have evolved from that opening day defeat. They haven’t lost since for starters. A draw in Romania was better than what Northern Ireland could achieve and narrows wins over Finland (twice) and the Faroe Islands meant a home draw against Romania again on Friday keeps them in the picture.
Will Northern Ireland mimic Wales and fluff their lines with the prize waiting for them? Possibly, although bookmakers seem to be underrating them a little at 17/10.
Hungary have scored just five goals in this group (the same as the Faroe Islands) and conceded just three so bookmakers have correctly gone very short on Unders markets. In truth, it’s very hard to find any sort of value in this match and with that in mind I’ll go for a Correct Score.
At 13/2 I’ll have a small stake on Northern Ireland winning 1-0. This feels like their time. You never get many goals in Hungary games, they lost by a one goal margin to Northern Ireland in their previous meeting and the home side do look bigger than they should be. That bigger price has tricked down to the Correct Score market.
Northern Ireland v Hungary – Northern Ireland to win 1-0 (13/2 Unibet)
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