Our prediction for this Euro 2024 match:
Northern Ireland and San Marino go head to head at Windsor Park in what is expected to be a David-vs-Goliath clash. The Green and White Army are eager to put an end to their five-game losing run and they are likely to go all guns blazing at the rock-bottom side. Both Callum Marshall and Jamal Lewis are back to contention, while Shayne Lavery and Ciaron Brown have been omitted.
The minnows, on the other hand, have been serving as a cannon fodder for their rivals in Group H and seeing that Northern Ireland are desperate to return to winning ways, home win should be considered. San Marino have yet to find the net in the Euro 2024 qualifiers and we do not believe that they are capable of spoiling Northern Ireland’s party in Belfast. There are no fresh injury worries in the away team.
Highlighted Player (Paddy McNair):
Following in the footsteps of his compatriot Jonny Evans, Paddy McNair joined the Manchester United academy in 2011 and he was surprisingly handed first team debut by Louis van Gaal at the start of the 2014/2015 season.
Despite his fragile age, the talented central defender has been putting in some very mature performances ever since, and everything suggests he could go on to become an important player at Old Trafford in years to come. After representing a number of youth sides, McNair made his first appearance for the Northern Ireland senior national team in a March 2015 friendly vs Scotland, before making another three outings as his side secured their place at the Euro 2016 finals.
Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill surprisingly played McNair in holding midfield in the March 2016 friendly vs Wales. After the youngster impressed in the middle of the park, O’Neill went on to suggest that the Manchester United starlet may be used in midfield rather than defence in years to come in the national team.
Highlighted Team (San Marino):
San Marino played their first official match back in 1990, with the team suffering a 4-0 loss to Switzerland in the European Championship qualifiers. The minnows often serve as a cannon fodder for their rivals in competitive games, but it has to be noted that they did well to hold Estonia to a goalless draw in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
San Marino have yet to record a win in the qualifiers for the major tournaments, but on April 28, 2004 they recorded a hard-fought victory over Liechtenstein in a friendly match and that is considered their biggest achievement. “La Serenissima” welcome their rivals at San Marino Stadium and the capacity of the venue is only 6.664.
San Marino footballers wear blue shirts and blue shorts when playing at home, whilst the colour of their away kits is white. It is well known that San Marino have never participated at the finals of the FIFA World Cup or the European Championship.