Euro 2016: Wales vs Northern Ireland preview

Surprising Group B winners Wales will take on neighbours Northern Ireland in a local UK derby at Euro 2016 on Saturday. Northern Ireland have not beaten Wales since 1980, when they secured a 1-0 friendly win. The two nations have met no less than 95 times, with Wales winning 44 matches and Northern Ireland taking 27 wins. The most recent encounter between the two sides was just a few months ago, a friendly match in Cardiff that ended 1-1.

Wales have taken most of the footballing world by surprise as they finished top of group B, ahead of second-placed England. They did lose against England 2-1 in their second match at Euro 2016, but the solid 3-0 success over Russia and the 2-1 victory over Slovakia earned them six points, one more than England's five. Sam Vokes and Ben Davies are just one yellow card away from suspension, but that is the only injury or suspension-related worry for head coach Chris Coleman.

Northern Ireland finished third in Group C behind Germany and Poland, but the three points that they had gathered allowed them to be one of the four third-placed teams to qualify for the last 16. They lost to both Poland and Germany by the same score line, 1-0, but a 2-0 victory over Ukraine gave them a good enough goal difference the pull through ahead of Turkey and Albania, who also finished the group stage with 3 points. Craig Cathcart, Jonny Evans, Jamie Ward and Stuart Dallas are all one booking away from suspension, but there are no injury concerns for Northern Ireland ahead of the game.

Probable line-ups:

Wales: Hennesey - Chester, Williams, Davies - Gunter, Allen, Ledley, Taylor - Bale, Vokes, Ramsey

Northern Ireland: McGovern - Hughes, McAuley, Cathcart, J. Evans - Ward, C. Evans, Norwood, Davis, Dallas - Washington

My prediction: Wales to win 2-0.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Wales win - 2.00
Draw - 3.10
Northern Ireland win - 5.00

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Members Comments

  • Serbia Milaneli


    Derby of the UK in the round of sixteen. Wales, obliviously favorites in this one will look to pressure from the get go. They had more then decent group stage with finishing first. Odds on them are pretty decent for whoever is looking for a bet. Everyone is expecting Bale and Ramsey to preform and lead their team to victory. On the other side, Northern Ireland already succeed more they could dream for, pressure is off for them and that can be a key for them. Definitely there is a room for upset, but I believe in Bale and boys.

  • Serbia nik92


    I believe this is a historic opportunity for Wales, they couldn't get a better draw, they keep away from all big teams on the way to the semi-finals. Everything except win over neighbors would be a big surprise today. Gareth Bale as a world football star, is subordinated to the team and the collective, and it has produced results.It;s strange to me that this system of competition, with the best third-placed teams, N. Ireland didn't show anything in the previous matches.. It will be 3:0 for Wels . :)

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