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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 15, 2013
  • • 1:00 PM
  • • National Stadium Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv
  • Referee: L. Duhamel
  • • Attendance: 12785
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World Cup Qualifying Preview: Israel - Northern Ireland

World Cup Qualifying Preview: Israel - Northern Ireland

Oliver McVeigh/SPORTSFILE

Recent defeats to Azerbaijan and Luxembourg have left the Green and White Army languishing towards the bottom of Group F, with just six points accrued from nine matches.

Israel and Northern Ireland will look to end their disappointing World Cup qualification campaigns on a positive note on Tuesday.

The sides meet in Ramat Gan with both unable to progress from Group F and with neither having tasted success in their last three qualifiers.

Northern Ireland has won just once in its nine matches and, while Israel gained a creditable draw in Portugal on Friday, the team has won just three qualifiers - with two coming against bottom side Luxembourg and the other against Tuesday's opponent in Belfast back in March.

Michael O'Neill's men go into the game following a 2-0 defeat to Azerbaijan in Baku on Friday, in what was the home team's first win in World Cup qualifying since beating Liechtenstein in Oct. 2009.

The defeat was compounded by the injury-time dismissal of defender Jonny Evans, who will miss Tuesday's game alongside Gareth McAuley and Oliver Norwood.

O'Neill highlighted after the match just how tough Group F has been for him and his squad.

"It's another harsh lesson, the players have made it difficult for themselves in this campaign," he told the media. "I'm not going to turn around and say we've been progressing at a rate of knots. We're progressing in small steps and taking a few setbacks along the way. This was another one.

"Some of our performances have been good but we just have to live with the results and they've been poor, there's no getting away from that."

Israel will finish in third place in the pool behind Russia and Portugal regardless of the result on Tuesday, although Northern Ireland could slip to bottom with defeat or move up a place with a win.

O'Neill's men have conceded nine goals in their last three qualifiers and will be wary of Eli Guttman's side, which has scored in each of its last seven games.

Two of those came in Israel's 2-0 win over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park, with Lior Refaelov and Eden Ben Basat scoring one each in the last five minutes.

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Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Israel

Northern Ireland

Wins
1
3
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Israel ISR
Israel Israel
Draw
Northern Ireland NIR
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
64%
16%
20%

Top 3 Predictions

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

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