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WC Qualification Europe

  • 26 March 2013
  • • 19:45
  • • Windsor Park, Belfast
  • Referee: H. Kaasik
  • • Attendance: 7300

Northern Ireland - Israel Preview: Paterson returns against Group F contenders

Northern Ireland - Israel Preview: Paterson returns against Group F contenders


The Green and White Army are on a poor run and now face a motivated Blues and Whites who remain in contention for World Cup qualification following their 3-3 draw against Portugal



Hughes, McAuley, Evans, D. Lafferty
McGinn, Davis, Bruce, Brunt, Ferguson

Shpungin, Tibi, Ben Haim, Gershon
Kayal, Yeini, Natkho
Melikson, Shechter, Ben Basat

Northern Ireland are without midfielder Chris Baird (suspended) and Alex Bruce could take his place in front of the back four. Manager Michael O'Neill has other options after recalling Corry Evans following a fitness test, as well as experienced midfielders Sammy Clingan and Grant McCann.

Martin Peterson is set to return on his own up front, with regular striker Kyle Lafferty suspended and fellow forwards Will Grigg (hamstring), Dean Shields (knee), Andrew Little (knee) and Jamie Ward (knock) injured.

Israel manager Eli Guttmann has no new injury or disciplinary worries in defence and could name an unchanged back line from the XI that drew at home to Portugal on Friday, with Sheran Yeini named in midfield ahead of Gal Alberman.

Top-scorer Tomer Hemed is suspended, however, so Itay Shechter or the newly recalled Elyaniv Barda could start in his place up front. Alternatively Eden Ben Basat could move into the lone striker position with Yossi Benayoun replacing him out wide.

  • Northern Ireland have drawn their last three World Cup Qualifying matches 1-1 leaving them fourth in Group F, with disappointing home draws against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan either side of a bitterly fought point away in Portugal.
  • Michael O'Neill's side have now gone 12 international matches without a win, but did not have to play on Friday after their match against group-leaders Russia was postponed.
  • The Blues and Whites have now lost just three of their last 29 World Cup qualifying matches, scoring at least three goals in each of their last three games.
  • Northern Ireland have not qualified for the World Cup finals since 1986, and since then have not finished higher than fourth in a World Cup qualifying group.
  • The two sides drew 1-1 in their only match against each other in 2009, when Elyaniv Barda cancelled out Grant McCann's opening goal at Windsor Park.
  • Roy Carroll and Kyle Lafferty are the only two players in the Northern Ireland squad playing outside of England or Scotland at club level, at Olympiakos in Greece and FC Sion in Switzerland respectively.
  • Eden Ben Basat (pictured) has netted in each of his last three World Cup Qualifying matches.

Players to watch

M. Paterson

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The 25-year-old has not featured for Northern Ireland since scoring his first international goal in August, having taken a self-imposed break from international football to resolve ongoing fitness problems.

He has scored just once in 2013 for Championship side Burnley, and now returns to the international team with the added responsibility of replacing the suspended striker Kyle Lafferty.

E. Ben Basat

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The 26-year-old has scored in each of Israel's last three qualifying matches and will take on added responsibility in the absence of the suspended top scorer Tomer Hemed.

Playing on the left of his side's attack against Portugal, he helped create the first goal for Hemed and scored the second, but he has also played lone striker for Toulouse since moving from Brest in the transfer window and has now netted 10 goals in Ligue 1 so far this season.

Editor's Prediction

The Green and White Army are rested following the cancellation of Friday's match against Russia and boosted by their recent draw away at Portugal, but are winless in 12 matches and lacking in attack without the suspended striker Kyle Lafferty.

The Blues and Whites are also without their first choice striker Tomer Hemed through suspension but following their draw against Portugal they have an outside chance of World Cup qualification.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Northern Ireland



Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Northern Ireland NIR
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
Israel ISR
Israel Israel

Top 3 Predictions

Northern Ireland NIR
0 - 2
Israel ISR
Northern Ireland NIR
1 - 2
Israel ISR
Northern Ireland NIR
0 - 8
Israel ISR