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Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria prediction, preview, team news and more | 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Northern Ireland will host Bulgaria on Wednesday
Northern Ireland will host Bulgaria on Wednesday
Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Modified 29 Mar 2021
Preview

Northern Ireland will welcome Bulgaria to Windsor Park on Wednesday for a 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier.

Both sides will be looking to register their first victories in Group C, with Bulgaria having already lost two games at home to Italy and Switzerland.

The hosts also suffered a defeat to Italy in Parma and followed that up with another defeat to the USA in an international friendly.

This will be Northern Ireland's second fixture in the group, while Bulgaria have already played two matches.

The two sides need all three points to avoid falling off the pace in terms of qualification this early in the race.

Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria Head-to-Head

This will be the sides' eighth meeting on the international stage. Bulgaria were victorious on four previous occasions, while the Green and White Army have two wins to their name.

Their most recent meeting came in an international friendly played in February 2008 when an own goal by Johnny Evans gave Bulgaria a 1-0 victory.

Northern Ireland are without a victory in regular time since their 3-2 friendly win over the Czech Republic in October 2019.

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Since then, they have played 12 matches without a win, although they defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina on penalties in a Euro 2020 playoff fixture.

Bulgaria are without a win in competitive fixtures in two years, losing seven and drawing two of their nine games in that run.

Northern Ireland form guide: L-L-D-L-L

Bulgaria form guide: L-L-D-L-W


Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria Team News

Northen Ireland

Manager Ian Baraclough called up 27 players for Northern Ireland's March international fixtures. The list is headlined by star forward Kyle Lafferty. He is currently on a poor run of form that has seen him go over five years and 19 games without an international goal.

Charlton Athletic forward Conor Washington pulled out with an injury.

Injury: Conor Washington

Suspension: None

Bulgaria

Manager Yasen Petrov called up 26 players in his latest international squad. The list is headlined by captain Petar Zanev and other experienced players including Strahil Popov, Spas Deleve and vice-captain Georgi Kostandinov.

Forward Atanas Iliev has recovered from an injury and could feature against Northern Ireland.

Injury: None

Suspension: None

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Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria Predicted XI

Northern Ireland Predicted XI (4-1-3-2): Bailey Peacock-Farrell (GK); Stuart Dallas, Johnny Evans, Craig Cathcart, Michael Smith; Patrick McNair; Alistair McCann, Steven Davis, Corry Evans; Josh Magennis, Gavin White

Bulgaria Predicted XI (4-4-2): Plamen Iliev (GK); Petar Zanev, Strahil Popov, Vasil Bozhikov, Cicinho; Georgi Kostandinov, Ivalyo Chochev, Kristiyan Malinov, Momchil Tsvetanov; Spas Delev, Andrey Galabinov


Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria Prediction

Neither side are famed for their attacking prowess, and we expect a low-scoring game with few chances.

Although one side could nick this one, it is difficult to see beyond a stalemate with both goalkeepers rarely tested.

Prediction: Northern Ireland 0-0 Bulgaria

Published 29 Mar 2021, 16:46 IST
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