HomeFootball NewsRomania vs Northern Ireland: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Romania vs Northern Ireland: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

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The State of Play

Romania were extremely impressive in UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying, eventually finishing their campaign above a strong Switzerland side with no defeats in their ten qualifiers; drawing four and winning six. They come into this one on the back of completing the group with a 1-0 victory over the Swiss in their most recent outing back in November in Bucharest with a 50th minute winning goal from Denis Alibec.

In contrast to the Romanians, Northern Ireland endured a horrible campaign with only three victories and seven defeats in ten matches. Michael O’Neill’s side do have some excellent emerging talents, most notably in Liverpool defender Conor Bradley, but two victories over San Marino and then a dead rubber 2-0 defeat of Denmark in Belfast in their final match were there only victories in a poor qualifying campaign.

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Team News

Romania have pretty much a fully fit and available first choice squad for this week but there are some interesting youngsters that have found themselves outside of the squad such as Ionut Radu, Tudor Baluta and Alex Dobre.

Northern Ireland are without their captain as 36-year-old defender Jonny Evans has reported himself as being injured. They do boast some interesting players like the aforementioned Bradley as well as Isaac Price, Paddy Lane, Shea Charles and Trai Hume.

Expected Line-ups

Romania: Moldovan; Ratiu, Dragusin, Burca, Bancu; Marin; Morutan, Cicaldau, Stanciu, Coman; Alibec

Northern Ireland: Hazard; Bradley, Toal, McNair, Ballard, Lewis; Saville, S. Charles, Price; D. Charles, Magennis

What they Said

Former Reading striker George Puscas has discussed the potential off-field impact of UEFA EURO 2024 and he said ‘let’s bring a new pride to Romania.’

Under pressure Michael O’Neill has talked about midfielder Isaac Price this week, who left for Standard Liege from Everton last summer, and has encouraged other young Northern Irishman to do the same in order to develop with more first-team minutes.

When and How to Watch

This match will be played at Arena Nationale in Bucharest at 19:45 on Friday March 22nd but will not be televised live in the UK. It will, though, be able to be streamed live via Viaplay Sports’ app.

Prediction

Within the last decade this has been a contest that would generally appear evenly matched but we are in a very different era now. Romania are gearing up to a UEFA European Championships in which they will be aiming to push on into the knockout stages. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, are at a low ebb. Given that, as well as the fact it is being played in Bucharest, Romania are the firm favourites for this one.

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