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Friendlies

  • 15 August 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Windsor Park, Belfast
  • Referee: R. Liesveld
3
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3

Northern Ireland - Finland Preview: O'Neill's men searching for positive result ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Northern Ireland - Finland Preview: O'Neill's men searching for positive result ahead of World Cup qualifiers

The Green and White Army will be hoping to grab a win at Windsor Park on Wednesday night in their final friendly before a tough campaign for a place in Brazil in 2014 kicks off

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

NORTHERN IRELAND

Camp
Hodson, McAuley, Baird, McGivern
Davis, Evans, Brunt
Lafferty, Paterson, Ward
FINLAND

Maenpaa
Halsti, Moisander, Toivio, Arkivuo
Hamalainen, Eremenko, Sparv, Sjolund
A Eremenko
Pukki

Northern Ireland will be looking to gain momentum ahead of their opening World Cup qualifier against Russia with a home victory over visiting Finland.

Michael O'Neill named a full-strength squad for the tie but has lost Niall McGinn and Paddy McCourt due to injury.

Liverpool youngster Ryan McLaughlin has also been ruled out of his country's clash with Finland, while Aaron Hughes will miss the tie due to an ankle problem.

Finland are likely to hand young striker Teemu Pukki a start in attack, with Timo Furuholm and Njazi Kuqi also in contention.

Niklas Moisander will lead the back four, with Alexei Eremenko pulling the strings in midfield.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Northern Ireland's last outing saw O'Neill's men endure a painful 6-0 defeat at the hands of an in-form Netherlands side.
  • Dean Shiels and Andy Little, who will play in the Scottish Third Division with Rangers this season, have been included in the squad.
  • Both sides suffered poor qualifying campaigns in the run-up to Euro 2012, resulting in neither travelling to Poland and Ukraine.
  • Wednesday's friendly will be both sides' final non-competitive match before their hectic World Cup qualifying fixture list gets underway next month.

Players to watch

A. Little

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

Currently plying his trade with Scottish Third Division outfit Rangers, Little has made 8 appearances for his country since making his debut in 2009. The 23-year-old has yet to score a goal at international level, but his form looks promising.

T. Pukki

Position: Attacker

Games: 1

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

The Schalke striker made his international debut back in 2009, and has made 13 appearances for his country since then, hitting the back of the net once in the process. The 22-year-old has attracted much attention in the transfer window, and is looking set to hit form this season.

Editor's Prediction

These two sides are evenly-matched in general but Northern Ireland have home advantage at Windsor Park and Finland look to lack an experienced source of goals. Unless their young forwards can fire, Michael O'Neill's team could come out on top.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Northern Ireland

Finland

Wins
2
1
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Northern Ireland NIR
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
Draw
Finland FIN
Finland Finland
39%
23%
38%

Top 3 Predictions

Northern Ireland NIR
2 - 1
Finland FIN
Northern Ireland NIR
2 - 0
Finland FIN
Northern Ireland NIR
1 - 1
Finland FIN

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