Monday, 20 June 2016

Northern Ireland vs Germany Euro 2016 Football Match Preview And Prediction - June 21, 2016


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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill must decide whether to make changes to the side that beat Ukraine.

If he reverts to a more defensive system then Conor McLaughlin and Paddy McNair may come back into the team, as could target man Kyle Lafferty.

Germany coach Joachim Low also has a dilemma over whether to persist with out-of-form Mario Gotze up front or instead play striker Mario Gomez.

Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil are one booking from a ban.

A victory would make Northern Ireland mathematically sure of advancing. They would top the group if they win and Poland fail to record a victory.

They already have three points and cannot finish lower than third. A draw is likely to be enough to ensure progress to the last 16.

Even defeat may see Northern Ireland advance as one of the best third-place sides, depending on what happens in other groups.

Germany already have four points - which is likely to be enough to take them through to the last 16. They will guarantee progression to the knock-out stage if they avoid defeat.

Northern Ireland will not be daunted by facing world champions Germany - they will positively relish it. Michael O'Neill's men were back to their resolute and dogged best in their crucial 2-0 win over Ukraine, a victory that has put them within a touching distance of the last 16.

Germany are yet to impress in France, albeit they are still to concede a goal. The mere fact that they can be usurped as group winners by neighbours Poland, who not only held them to a goalless draw last week but also beat them for the first ever time in qualifying, brings its own pressures; as does the potential of Northern Ireland finishing above them with a win.

Head-to-head

Northern Ireland have won only twice in 14 meetings with Germany (D4, L8).
Those two wins came in qualifying for the 1984 European Championship. That is the only time that a team has beaten Germany/West Germany both home and away in a qualifying campaign.
Current Northern Ireland assistant boss Jimmy Nicholl played in both of those fixtures.
Northern Ireland's 1-0 away win in November 1983 remains their last victory against Germany. Norman Whiteside scored the winning goal that day.
This is their first meeting at a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup. They drew 2-2 in that encounter in Malmo as both teams progressed to the quarter-finals.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland have lost only one of their last 14 internationals (W7, D6).
They have not conceded more than one goal in their last 15 internationals, since they lost 2-0 in qualifying to Romania in November 2014.
Seven of Northern Ireland's last 10 goals in competitive games have come from set-pieces (four from corners, three from indirect free-kicks).
Northern Ireland went from two shots (zero on target) in their Euro 2016 opener against Poland to 13 shots (seven on target) in their second outing against Ukraine.

Germany

The last time Germany failed to make it out of the group stages of a major tournament was at Euro 2004. Since then, they've made the last four at every single major competition.
Germany have won 12 of their last 15 games at major tournaments, drawing two and losing one - that was a 2-1 defeat to Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-finals.
Thomas Muller hasn't scored or assisted a single goal in seven games at the Euros. He's had just one shot on target in 180 minutes so far at Euro 2016.
Muller has scored 10 goals and provided six assists in 13 World Cup games.

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