Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Northern Ireland will be looking to make amends for an unlucky defeat to Austria when they host Romania at Windsor Park on Wednesday evening. The Green and White Army are stuck at the bottom of the table with one point from possible 15, but a win over Romania could see them avoid relegation to Group C. Shane Ferguson picked up an injury in the 2-1 loss to Austria, and he is definitely out of contention.
Several first-team regulars, including Jonny Evans, return to the starting XI. Romania, on the other hand, were not in action at the weekend as their game against Norway was postponed. The Tricolori aim to avoid relegation as well, but we are tempted to put our money on the hosts this time out as they produced a fine display in their last group game. When the two teams met in Bucharest earlier in the process they played out a 1-1 draw.
Highlighted Player (Will Grigg):
Wighan Athletic striker Will Grigg became a viral sensation during the European Championship in France but the chances are any avid football fan will have been well aware of his goalscoring exploits even before 2016. The 27-year-old forward began his career at Stratford Town but it was in Walsall that the world took notice of his presence after 27 goals in 99 performances for the club.
He first came to prominence during the 2012/13 season when he was voted the club’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season, but a loan spell at Milton Keynes Dons during his rather unfortunate two-year spell over at Brentford proved crucial for his career.
The total of 20 goals in 44 appearances at Stadium MK was where Wigan Athletic noticed the Northern Ireland man and moved in to sign him on a three year contract for a £1 million fee in 2015. ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’ was the hit song of the Euro 2016 even though the Northern Ireland striker ended up not getting a chance to make a bow in the tournament.
Highlighted Team (Romania):
Romania were one of just four European sides to take part at the first ever World Cup in 1930, and the team have since achieved respectable results on the international stage, albeit failing to challenge for major trophies.
Led by arguably their best ever footballer Gheorghe Hagi, the Tricolorii narrowly missed out on the semi-finals at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, losing to Sweden on penalties. Romania made a total of seven appearances at the World Cup finals, while qualifying for five European Championship tournaments. The Tricolorii went the farthest in 2000, when they were eliminated by Italy in the quarter-finals.
Tied at the top of the goalscoring charts, Gheorghe Hagi and Adrian Mutu are the only two Romanian footballers to have gained worldwide recognition, but Dorinel Munteanu, Dan Petrescu, Gheorghe Popescu and Viorel Moldovan are also worth mention. Romania play their home games at the Arena National in Bucarest.