Northern Ireland should go into their tie with Luxembourg tonight expecting to come away with all three points. Michael O’Neill’s side were leading Portugal, seventh in the Fifa rankings, 2-1 until the 68th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo completed a fifteen minute hat trick to silence the Windsor Park crowd.
Despite that result, Northern Ireland will still have a confidence from their performance and their ability to have broken down the Portuguese defence twice; and also from their 1-0 victory over Russia in August.
Michael O’Neill will have to make a couple of changes to his starting line-up tonight due to the red cards to Chris Brunt and Kyle Lafferty from Friday night.
11 September 2012: Northern Ireland 1-1 Luxembourg
23 February 2000: Luxembourg 1-3 Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland haven’t had a goalless draw in 14 Championship matches.
No player in the Northern Ireland squad has more than 10 goals for their country.
N Ireland win – 2.1
Luxembourg win – 3.5
Draw – 3.2
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2 at 7.15pm