Northern Ireland are set to play hosts to Slovakia on Thursday at Windsor Park in their UEFA European Championship qualifying fixture.
Northern Ireland come into this game on the back of a 1-0 loss to Norway last month in the UEFA Nations League. An own goal from Leeds United full-back Stuart Dallas in the second half was enough to secure the win for the Norwegians.
Slovakia, on the other hand, lost 3-2 to Israel last month in the UEFA Nations League. A hat-trick from PSV Eindhoven attacker Eran Zahavi sealed the win for Israel, with Dalian Pro midfielder Marek Hamsik and Ferencvaros winger Robert Mak scoring the consolation goals for Slovakia.
Northern Ireland vs Slovakia Head-to-Head
In four previous encounters between the two sides, the record is fairly even. Northern Ireland have won one game, lost two and drawn one.
The two countries last faced each other way back in 2016, with the game ending in a goalless draw.
Northern Ireland form guide: L-W-L-L
Slovakia form guide: D-W-L-L
Northern Ireland vs Slovakia Team News
Northern Ireland have named an experienced squad, including Leicester City centre-back Jonny Evans and Rangers midfielder Steven Davis. There could be a potential debut for St Johnstone midfielder Alistair McCann.
Injured: Matty Kennedy, Corry Evans
Meanwhile, Slovakia have also named an experienced squad. Former Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik, Parma midfielder Juraj Kucka and Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar have all been called-up. There could be a debut cap for Groningen's teenage midfielder Tomas Suslov.
Northern Ireland vs Slovakia Predicted XI
Northern Ireland Predicted XI (4-4-1-1): Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Stuart Dallas, Craig Cathcart, Jonny Evans, Jamal Lewis, Gavin Whyte, Steven Davis, George Saville, Niall McGinn, Paddy McNair, Josh Magennis
Slovakia Predicted XI (4-3-3): Marek Rodak, Peter Pekarik, Martin Valjent, Milan Skriniar, Robert Mazan, Juraj Kucka, Stanislav Lobotka, Marek Hamsik, Albert Rusnak, Ondrej Duda, Vladimir Weiss
Northern Ireland vs Slovakia Prediction
Northern Ireland have some highly-experienced players in their ranks, including former Manchester United centre-back Jonny Evans and former Southampton midfielder Steven Davis.
Hull City striker Josh Magennis could prove to be crucial, while the presence of veteran Reggina striker Kyle Lafferty provides them with something different up front.
Slovakia, on the other hand, will rely on midfielder Marek Hamsik to pull the strings. Napoli midfielder Stanislav Lobotka and former AC Milan midfielder Juraj Kucka ensure a solid midfielder partnership, while the likes of Koln attacker Ondrej Duda and Slovan Bratislava winger Vladimir Weiss could create problems for the opposition defence.
A close match is expected. However, the experience of Northern Ireland could prove to be the difference that earns them a narrow victory.
Prediction: Northern Ireland 1-0 Slovakia
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