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Greece vs N. Ireland – UEFA Nations League, Tues 27th, 7.45pm

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Selections

Northern Ireland face a serious risk of relegation as they enter their final UEFA Nations League encounter against Greece.

As things stand, Cyprus occupy the bottom spot in the group – though with Northern Ireland sitting above them on goal difference, things could easily change on Tuesday night.

To make matters worse for the Irish, they face an away clash against Greece – a side which has won four of their five group games and sit top with an enormous six-point advantage.

Cyprus, on the other hand, will travel to Kosovo in high spirits after handing the Greeks their first defeat last Saturday.

However, it’s not all bad news for Northern Ireland.

Last time out, Ian Baraclough’s men scored two goals in the final eight minutes of their game against Kosovo to seal a 2-1 win.

Not only did that show a lot of guts, but it also proved that the Irish are capable of finding the back of the net.

Scoring goals will be important against Greece, though not as important as scoring first.

Out of the last 11 games featuring the Greek national side, ten of those were won to nil. With that in mind, whoever opens the scoring in Athens will give themselves a major helping hand.

Nevertheless, overcoming Greece away from home is a task that cannot be underestimated.

Gus Poyet’s side have lost just one of their last 14 games at home, with that sole defeat coming against Spain.

Since 2019 only three nations have managed to pull off victories in Athens. Understandably, Northern Ireland are priced as major underdogs as they look to become the fourth.

Baraclough’s side have won just one of their last six games, and have endured three defeats during that run – all by a margin of one goal.

With that in mind, our recommendation is to back Greece to pick up their fifth Nations League victory.

Northern Ireland are expected to put on a good fight, though a lack of quality in their squad is likely to be their downfall in Athens.

With regards to goals, a low-scoring game should be on the cards considering both sides have scored a combined 13 times in the Nations League this season.

What’s more, Greece boast a fierce defensive record having conceded just one goal from their last five games.

Key stats

  • Northern Ireland have won just one of their last six games
  • Northern Ireland are winless in their last four competitive away games
  • Ten of the 11 games featuring Greece have been won by a single goal
  • Northern Ireland have won two of their last three encounters with Greece
  • Greece have conceded just one goal in the Nations League this season

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