This Thursday will see the continuation of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualification campaign for nations all across Europe. In Group C, the Netherlands will go head to head with Northern Ireland in a huge test of their qualifying credentials at De Kuip.
Netherlands (Odds of 1-6 for victory)
Following great disappointment in their last two qualification campaigns, the Dutch are aiming to return to their former glories as they go full steam ahead on the road to UEFA Euro 2020. While they may have lost in the UEFA Nations League Final earlier this summer they’ve put themselves in a decent position in Group C, winning their opening game against Belarus 4-0 back in March.
They proceeded to drop a tight 3-2 game against bitter rivals Germany, but in the reverse fixture nearly six months later, they put the 2014 world champions to the sword with a nice 4-2 triumph. They then secured their second 4-0 win of the group, this time against Estonia.
They now lie three points behind Northern Ireland with a superior goal difference and a game in hand, with the stats certainly suggesting that over 2.5 goals is always a possibility.
Northern Ireland (Odds of 20/1)
Despite being put in a group with giants such as the Netherlands and Germany, Northern Ireland have refused to shy away from the magnitude of the task at hand. They were able to kick off their Group C campaign like a house on fire, putting together four straight wins over Estonia and Belarus – by the score of 2-0, 2-1, 2-1 and 2-0. While they went into their following game against Germany as the underdogs, there’s no getting away from the fact that they put up a good fight.
They went down 2-0 to Joachim Low’s side at Windsor Park, but within that loss came a sense of hope that they are still capable of upsetting the odds and reaching Euro 2020. In terms of their goalscoring, though, fans shouldn’t expect them to blow anyone away anytime soon.
It’s not impossible to picture the visitors producing an entertaining (yet frustrating) defensive performance that earns them a point, because if they’re able to hold the Dutch off, then it’ll massively build their confidence heading into the final stretch of their qualification run.
Alas, we just can’t see past Ronald Koeman’s men who seem to be hellbent on reaching the European Championships next year. We can see them breaking through early on and proceeding to run riot in the first half, but in the second, don’t be surprised to see the Northern Irish fight back and give themselves something to take away from the game. Either way, it’s a tall order for Michael O’Neill’s men.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 1/6 and/or over 2.5 goals at odds of 4/7 (all odds are taken from bet365).
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Can Northern Ireland upset the Dutch in their backyard?