Live match preview – N Ireland vs Slovakia 12.11.2020

first_imgTeam news, stats and analysis ahead of Northern Ireland in the European Qualifying play-off final on Thursday; kick-off 7.45pm.Like Scotland, it was also penalties that saw Northern Ireland into the European Qualifying play-off final, beating Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-3 in the shootout after a 1-1 draw. Slovakia had also won on spot-kicks, beating the Republic of Ireland 4-2 following a goalless draw.- Advertisement – 1:26 Jordan Jones during the friendly match between Lyon and Rangers at the Groupama Stadium 1:09 1:09 Steven Davis Northern Ireland’s Steven Davis and Josh Magennis say reaching a second European Championships would be just as special as the first Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis added:“For me as well, I am probably getting to the latter stages so I don’t know when these opportunities come around again. Even the message to the younger players would probably be the same because you just don’t know in football.“When you get these opportunities, and when they do come around, you have to try to make the most of them.”Opta statsVictory for Northern Ireland will see them qualify for the European Championship finals for the second time and a second consecutive tournament, reaching the Round of 16 at EURO 2016.Slovakia are looking to reach the European Championship finals for a second time, qualifying for EURO 2016 previously.Northern Ireland have lost six of their last 10 matches in all competitions (W1 D3), losing their last two in a row – they last lost three consecutively in November 2017.Slovakia have lost their last two matches, losing to Scotland and Israel in the UEFA Nations League in October; they have not lost three in a row since October 2016.Since they last had more shots than an opponent in a match in June 2019 vs Belarus, Northern Ireland have attempted just 72 shots in 11 matches while facing 186 themselves – Norn Iron have only had 10 shots in one match since then (vs Bosnia in October, 13).Since the arrival of manager Pavel Hapal, Marek Hamsik has been directly involved in more goals than any other Slovakia player (6 – 4 goals, 2 assists). – Advertisement – Northern Ireland striker Josh Magennis told Sky Sports News:“It would be absolutely massive. To say you got to one major tournament is beyond believable, to say if you were able to get to two, to go to both, it will be class.“There will be as many tears as there was the first time, so it will be amazing. If you need any more inspiration or you need to get yourself geed up for these games, then I think you are in the wrong sport.” Northern Ireland’s Steven Davis and Josh Magennis say reaching a second European Championships would be just as special as the first NI fansImage:A handful of Northern Ireland fans will be allowed into Windsor Park on Thursday Kick off 7:45pm Steven Davis Sky Sports announced last week that both Scotland and Northern Ireland’s play-off games will be free-to-air for UK customers on what is sure to be a dramatic night of football.Northern Ireland vs Slovakia will be shown live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm and free-to-air on Sky Challenge; kick-off at 7.45pm.You can also follow all the latest in our dedicated live blog across Sky Sports’ digital platforms, including build-up, match commentary and the latest analysis. Plus, watch in-game goals and free match highlights shortly after full-time.NI fans back for crunch match However, after a wonderful run of six wins between March and October 2019, Northern Ireland have won just once since, although it was their crucial play-off semi-final last month. They’ve lost six and drawn two of the remaining fixtures, with Ian Baraclough replacing Michael O’Neill in June 2020.Northern Ireland are winless in three matches against Slovakia (D1 L2) since a 1-0 friendly win in March 1998 with Steve Lomas scoring the winner. The last meeting between the two was a friendly back in June 2016, with the sides sharing a goalless draw.Team news If Northern Ireland win…If Northern Ireland beat Slovakia, they will be Path B winners and go into Euro 2020 Group E with Spain, Sweden and Poland. – Advertisement – Thursday 12th November 7:00pm Rangers forward Jordan Jones has been left out of the Northern Ireland squad for their Euro 2020 play-off after breaching coronavirus rules but manager Ian Baraclough says the player has apologised and can return in the future After playing at their first European Championships in 2016, Northern Ireland are looking for back-to-back appearances with a victory on Thursday. They famously reached the round of 16 as one of the best third-place teams before being knocked out by Wales. More than 1,000 fans will be at Windsor Park for Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off final. A total of 1,060 supporters will be allocated socially distanced seats in the 18,500 capacity stadium.Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: “We have worked closely with the Minister for Communities, Carál Ní Chuilín, and her officials, as well as the team at Belfast City Council, to land on this number.“Our own staff have also played a significant role in this and we’re delighted to have fans back at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, in a safe and responsible setting, for one of our biggest games in recent times.”Magennis: Tears if NI reach Euro finals There are a few Northern Ireland absentees. Jordan Jones is missing after breaching coronavirus protocols with Rangers, and Joel Cooper, Trevor Carson (knee), Corry Evans (hamstring) and Matty Kennedy (knee) all missing. But Baraclough said there were no other issues within the squad – giving Jonny Evans a clean bill of health following his own recent injury set-backs.Rochdale’s Ryan McLaughlin – brother of Sunderland right-back Conor – has been called into the squad alongside youngsters Ethan Galbraith and Conor Hazard, who have been promoted from the U21s.Kyle Lafferty suffered the loss of his sister last week, while George Saville arrived in Belfast late after a family emergency which kept him out of Middlesbrough’s goalless draw at Brentford at the weekend, but Baraclough said both players were available.How to watch – Advertisement –last_img read more