thumbnail Hello,
Live

EC Qualification

  • October 8, 2010
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Windsor Park, Belfast
  • Referee: T. Chapron
  • • Attendance: 15200
0
FT
0

Northern Ireland - Italy Preview: Hosts Without Injured Paddy McCourt While Goalkeeper Battle Intensifies For Cesare Prandelli’s Men

Northern Ireland - Italy Preview: Hosts Without Injured Paddy McCourt While Goalkeeper Battle Intensifies For Cesare Prandelli’s Men

Another Shock On The Cards?

After being placed in Group C - the only group which contains three teams who participated at this summer’s World Cup - Northern Ireland weren’t given much of a chance in qualification. But they gave their fans something to cheer about in their first game by pulling off a surprise 1-0 away win over Slovenia.

While Northern Ireland sit third in the group having only played one match, Italy are the current leaders after picking up maximum points from two games. After a narrow 2-1 win over Estonia they ran out 5-0 winners against the Faroe Islands, but if they lose in Belfast they will be level on points with their opponents having played a match more.

Italy's Away Day Blues

The visitors to Windsor Park are widely expected to get a result on Friday, in fact even a draw in Northern Ireland will be seen as a failure. However, before Italians get ahead of themselves they may want to consider that their side have never beaten their opponents away from home. The Azzurri have faced Northern Ireland twice on the road, losing 2-1 in Belfast in 1958 before drawing 2-2 later that year against in Belfast.

Although Italy are yet to win in Northern Ireland, they do boast an impressive away record recently. Cesare Prandelli’s men have not lost a qualifier away from home since September 2006, when they went down 3-1 to France.

TEAM NEWS

Northern Ireland

Nigel Worthington was dealt a blow earlier this week after Celtic midfielder Paddy McCourt was ruled out of the upcoming qualifiers with a shoulder injury.

Young forward Andrew Little has won a late call-up in the place of McCourt but looks unlikely to start for the hosts.

David Healy’s place up front is under pressure after failing to feature in any of Sunderland’s games this season, which means Martin Paterson and is pushing to play in the lone striker role.

Possible starting line-up: Taylor; Baird, Hughes, Craigan, Evans; Brunt, Davis, Clingan, McCann, Lafferty; Healy.

Italy

The goalkeeper situation for the visitors is yet to be confirmed due to the injury to Gianluigi Buffon, but Emiliano Viviano is favourite to get the nod ahead of Salvatore Sirigu.

Stefano Mauri and Gianluca Zambrotta have earned recalls, although the latter is unlikely to start with Mattia Cassani likely to start at right-back.

Italy have been training in a 4-3-3 formation this week, with Simone Pepe playing alongside Marco Borriello and Antonio Cassano in a three-pronged attack, though he may miss out if Cesare Prandelli opts to play Giuseppe Rossi.

Possible starting line-up: Viviano; Cassani, Bonucci, Chiellini, Criscito; De Rossi, Pirlo, Mauri; Pepe, Borriello, Cassano.


Click here to follow the Goal.com Twitter feed and join Goal.com USA's Facebook fan page!

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
European Championship Qualification 2012 ‎(EC)‎ Oct 11, 2011 Italy 3 - No. Ireland 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
European Championship Qualification 2012 ‎(EC)‎ Oct 8, 2010 No. Ireland 0 - Italy 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
International Friendlies ‎(FR)‎ Jun 6, 2009 Italy 3 - No. Ireland 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
Prediction
Editor's Prediction
Italy 0

From the web

From the web