Group C of the European 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament continues this weekend with Northern Ireland hosting San Marino at Windsor Park in Belfast this Saturday, October 8th. This is the second match for each of these teams with Northern Ireland drawing their first outing and San Marino losing theirs. Germany and Azerbaijan lead the group after one game with three points each with the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland tied at one point and San Marino and Norway in the basement with no points.
Northern Ireland v San Marino – 5dimes Soccer Betting Line:
- 5dimes currently lists Northern Ireland as the favorites to win the game at -3647 with San Marino +7914 and a draw at +2823
Northern Ireland v San Marino – Head to Head:
These two nations have met a total of just twice in the past with Northern Ireland winning both games and outscoring san Marino 7-0 in the process. They won 4-0 at home in October of 2008 in a 2010 World Cup qualifier and won 3-0 away in the return match in San Marino four months later.
Northern Ireland – A Closer Look:
Northern Ireland enters the match as the 30th-ranked nation in the world by FIFA. They opened their qualifying campaign with a 0-0 draw in the Czech Republic. However, they should take all three points against the minnows from San Marino since their opponents have dropped decisions in 70of their past 71 games. There shouldn’t be any doubt about who wins this game, but the final score is up in the air. However, the Irish squad isn’t known as a high-scoring outfit as they’ve scored four goals in a game just three times since 2000. They’ve played a grand total of 68 times over that stretch. In addition, Northern Ireland has played 15 home games under current manager Michael O’Neill and there have been fewer than three goals scored in 12 of them.
San Marino – A Closer Look:
San Marino is well known as one of the weakest nations in world soccer and they enter the game as the 2011st -ranked nation in the world by FIFA. However, they didn’t play that bad in their opening game of the qualification tournament as they lost a close 1-0 decision at home to Azerbaijan. As mentioned though, they’ve lost all but once in their past 71 games. San Marino has played 37 games on the road since 2004 and has scored just one goal in that stretch. They’ve been shut out the on the other 36 occasions.
by Ian S. Palmer