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
By Arthur Virgo
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.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- 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.
- Israel are second in Group F on goal difference after conceding a late goal to draw 3-3 in a spectacular home game against Portugal on Friday.
A repeat of that stunning result can be backed at 70/1 with BetVictor.
- 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.
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Top 3 Predictions
Northern Ireland 0-2 Israel
- 13.91 %
Northern Ireland 1-2 Israel
- 9.57 %
Northern Ireland 0-8 Israel
- 7.83 %
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Oct 16, 2013||Israel 1 - Northern Ireland 1|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Mar 27, 2013||Northern Ireland 0 - Israel 2|
|International Friendlies (FR)||Aug 13, 2009||Northern Ireland 1 - Israel 1|
|Nov 16, 2013||Turkey 1 - Northern Ireland 0||FR|
|Oct 16, 2013||Israel 1 - Northern Ireland 1||WCQE|
|Oct 12, 2013||Azerbaijan 2 - Northern Ireland 0||WCQE|
|Sep 11, 2013||Luxembourg 3 - Northern Ireland 2||WCQE|
|Sep 7, 2013||Northern Ireland 2 - Portugal 4||WCQE|
|-||Tal Ben Haim||Defender|
|-||Eden Ben Basat||Striker|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed