Northern Ireland can take a step closer to securing a World Cup qualification play-off spot when they play San Marino in Serravalle on Friday.
The Green and White Army are second in Group C - five points behind leaders Germany - and they will hope to strengthen their grip on the position with a clash against third-place Czech Republic coming on September 4.
Michael O'Neill's side won 4-0 in the corresponding fixture in Belfast last October and they will be confident in the build-up having won their last three games, including victories over Norway and Azerbaijan.
|Game||San Marino vs Northern Ireland|
|Date||Friday, September 1|
|Time||19:45 BST / 14:45 ET|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the UK, the match will be available to watch live on television on Sky Sports Mix and by online stream using Sky Go or Now TV.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Mix||Sky Go / Now TV|
In the US, the match will not be available to watch live on television, but it will be available to stream online with the Fox Soccer Match Pass.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||Fox Soccer Match Pass|
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Position||San Marino players|
|Goalkeepers||Manzaroli, Muraccini, A. Simoncini|
|Defenders||Cevoli, D. Simoncini, Biordi, Cesarini, Vitaoli, Grandoni, Palazzi, D'addario, Bonini|
|Midfielders||Tosi, Gasperoni, Battistini, Golinucci, Berretti, Cervellini|
|Forwards||Stefanelli, Bernardi, Tomassini, Rinaldi, Berardi|
Novara goalkeeper Elia Benedettini has not been released for the latest squad because the Serie B side's first-choice shot-stopper, Lorenzo Montipo, has been called up to the Italy Under-21 team, meaning that they would not have had any available goalkeepers for the upcoming game against Parma.
That means the only professional player in the current squad is Filippo Berardi, who plays for Serie C team Juve Stabia. Interestingly, Adolfo Hirsch is one of many amateur players in the wider San Marino squad, but he has not been given permission to play by his employer.
Potential starting XI: A. Simoncini; Cesarini, Palazzi, Vitaioli, Bonini; Golinucci, Cervellini, Berretti, Tosi; Berardi, Rinaldi.
|Position||Northern Ireland players|
|Goalkeepers||Carroll, McGovern, Mannus, Peacock-Farrell|
|Defenders||Hughes, J. Evans, Brunt, C. McLaughlin, R. McLaughlin, Smith, Hodson, D. Lafferty, Thompson, Flanagan|
|Midfielders||Davis, McGinn, Norwood, C. Evans, Ferguson, Dallas, Paton, Lund|
|Forwards||K. Lafferty, Magennis, Washington, McCartan|
Northern Ireland will be without Watford defender Craig Cathcart, who suffered a knee injury in the Hornets' Premier League game against Brighton last weekend. Cathcart has been replaced in the squad by Hearts full-back Michael Smith, while Leeds United goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has also been called up and could win his first cap.
West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley has been ruled out due to a thigh injury, meaning that Michael O'Neill will be forced into making a number of changes at the back.
Potential starting XI: McGovern; Brunt, Evans, Hughes, C. McLaughlin; Davis, Norwood, Dallas, McGinn; Lafferty, Magennis.
BETTING & MATCH ODDS
Northern Ireland are heavy favourites to win at 1/20, according to dabblebet, with San Marino priced at 50/1 to record a home win. A draw is a little more likely with odds of 15/1 available.
San Marino have conceded six or more goals in each of their last three games and dabblebet is offering odds of 5/1 for over 5.5 goals to be scored. Kyle Lafferty, who scored twice when the teams met last October, is considered the favourite to score first, with odds of 21/10 attached to the striker.
Northern Ireland have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes under the guidance of Michael O'Neill, who led the team to their highest ever FIFA ranking - 22 - this July. That steady rise comes in the wake of their participation at Euro 2016 and O'Neill is determined to follow that achievement by reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Green and White Army have not qualified for a World Cup since 1986, but they remain in with a chance of reaching the tournament if they can finish second in their group, with world champions Germany looking likely to qualify as group winners.
Having won four of their six games, losing only to Germany, Northern Ireland have put themselves in a formidable position, but O'Neill is taking it one game at a time, beginning with San Marino away.
"We’re not in a position where we can take San Marino lightly. We have to win the game, simple as that," the former Shamrock Rovers boss said following the announcement of his squad. "We’ll pick a team that we think can win the game and then we’ll think about the second game (against Czech Republic) after we’ve hopefully won the first game.
"The focus will always be on the first game to make sure we win that game, and then you’re in the right frame of mind, confidence of the players is high, and then a quick turnaround and as I said the Czech Republic game…
"The prize at the end of it could be massive for us, but it’s only massive for us if we make sure we win the first game."