Few would have predicted that this would be a top of the table clash when the groups were first drawn but Northern Ireland’s sensational start to the qualifying campaign means that they are the team to beat in Group F. Romania will leapfrog them into top spot with a win and they remain the heavy favourites to win the group with the bookies despite dropping early points at home to Hungary last month.
Who Will Win?
Northern Ireland have made a perfect start to the group stage, winning all three games. What makes this even more impressive is that two of those victories have came away from home against two of the stronger members of the group, Hungary and Greece. Romania faltered in their only home game so far in the group stage, only managing a 1-1 draw against Hungary in a game they were odds on to win.
Usually odds of 8/13 for a Romania win would be justified as on paper they are the stronger team on paper, however, the Northern Ireland side they are coming up against seem to be made of sterner stuff this time around and there’s a feeling that something special maybe brewing in their camp this campaign. Northern Ireland beat Romania 1-0 away from home he last time they met during qualification for the 1986 World Cup and they are 6/1 to repeat that feat with BetVictor and make it four wins in a row.
Will There Be Goals?
Both sides have found goals easy to come by so far in qualification and have scored in every game so far. Northern Ireland have scored twice in every game so far in the qualifiers and with strikers on form and confidence flowing, Northern Ireland to score 2 or more goals at 6/1 with Betfair could potentially prove very lucrative.
Romania’s frontline will be bolstered by the return of Ciprian Marica who is eligible again after suspension. Romania have also scored in all of their qualifiers so far and with a strengthened frontline, they should be confident of more goals on Friday. Since both teams have strikers on form, both teams to score at 13/8 with Coral looks like a potential winner.
Who Will Score?
Kyle Lafferty has scored in every qualifying match so far and tops Northern Ireland’s scoring charts with 3 goals in the campaign so far. Is Lafferty finally realising his potential at this level and putting in the performances many hoped he would when he first burst onto the scene? If you think he is, back him to score again at 24/5 with 888Sport.
Ciprian Marica has had a mixed campaign so far, with his winning goal in Greece closely followed by a red card which kept him out of the next two games. The experienced striker is back for the Northern Ireland game and will be keen to help his team assert their dominance over the rest of the group and add to his 25 international goals. Marica is 4th on Romania’s list of all time top goalscorers and he can close the gap on Adrian Mutu by marking his comeback to the side with a goal. Marica is best priced at 11/8 with William Hill to score anytime.