Our football match prediction:
High-flying Northern Ireland will be looking to build on a hard-fought 1-0 win over Azerbaijan when they take on San Marino at Stadio Olimpico di Serravale. Northern Ireland seem to be on top of their game at the moment and you should bear in mind that they are eyeing their fourth consecutive win in Group C. The Green and White Army managed to keep a clean sheet in each of their previous three qualifying games and they are likely to rely on their rock-solid defence in Friday’s football game against San Marino. The minnows have nothing to play for in the upcoming qualifier and seeing that they conceded 21 goals in last three game in all competitions, the hosts are unlikely to grab something from the match. Northern Ireland recorded a routine 4-0 win over San Marino earlier in the process and the history is likely to repeat itself.
Highlighted Player (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 (Northern Ireland):
Competing first under the Irish flag and then as an independent entity, Northern Ireland are one of world’s oldest national teams, but they haven’t enjoyed too much success in history. Led by Danny Blanchflower, the Irish impressed at their first ever World Cup finals appearance, reaching the quarter-finals in 1958, but they have since only played at the 1982 and 1986 tournaments, reaching round 2 and crashing out in the group stage respectively. Northern Ireland had failed to qualify for 13 successive European Championship finals before finally booking their ticket to the Euro 2016 in France, and the fans hope this success will only be a sign of things to come. Without a doubt, George Best is the most famous footballer to have ever put on the green shirt, scoring 9 goals in 37 appearances, but he couldn’t help the national team close the gap behind Europe’s top sides. Some of the other high-profile footballers include Pat Jennings, Aaron Hughes, David Healy, Keith Gillespie, Steven Davies and Gareth McAuley.