Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Northern IrelandEuro 2020, KO: 19:45 Oct 8, 2020, Grbavica Stadium
NORTHERN Ireland will resume their bid to qualify for Euro 2020 on Thursday night when they travel to Sarajevo to square off with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The winner of this semi-final showdown will lock horns with either Slovakia or Republic of Ireland during next month's international break, with a place at next Summer's delayed Euro 2020 tournament up for grabs.
The Green and White Army's mission will be fuelled by memories of their exploits at Euro 2016 – their first major tournament in three decades – however, former Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill will be a hard act to follow.
New boss Ian Baraclough began his reign by steering his side to a spirited 1-1 draw away in Romania last month before watching his side get battered 5-1 in Belfast by an Erling Haaland inspired Norway outfit.
Bosnia, meanwhile, are coming into this crunch clash off the back of a Nation's League double-header that saw them earn an impressive 1-1 draw away in Italy before falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to Poland.
Dusan Bajevic has a strong squad that contains the likes of Edin Dzeko and Mialem Pjanic and it's also worth noting that hosts have lost just three of their last 20 international assignments on home turf.
Northern Ireland have won just three of their last 14 international fixtures away from home and that is reflected in Baraclough's boys being big underdogs at 7/2 with Betfair, while the draw can be backed at 12/5 with UniBet.
Goals have been a regular feature of Bosnia's fixtures in recent years – their last 12 outings have yielded 42 strikes – an average of 3.5 goals per game – and ten of their last 12 tussles have produced over 2.5 goals.
What's more, three of Northern Ireland's last four assignments have generated three or more goals and that line of thought could see plenty of punters attracted to the 11/8 on offer with William Hill for a repeat on Thursday night.
Indeed, the above-mentioned price makes appeal, however, I'm more attracted to the 6/5 on offer Bet 365 for Bosnia to score two or more goals in this bout.
Dusan Bajevic's side have scored two or more goals in five of their last seven home matches – a sample that includes Northern Ireland – and I'm happy to side with a repeat here given that the visitors have shipped 17 goals across their last six fixtures – an average of 2.8 goals per game.
Whether or not the home side make the net the bulge twice remains to be seen, however, Northern Ireland will be hard tasked when trying to tame Bosnia talisman Edin Dzeko.
The Bosnia captain has clocked up an eye-watering 59 international goals in 109 appearances for his country and the former Man City man makes appeal at 19/5 with UniBet to open the scoring on Thursday night.
Having said that, I would be more inclined to back the Bosnian goal-getter to get on the scoresheet at anytime during this high-stakes playoff semi final showdown at an eye-catching 6/4 with PaddyPower.
Dzeko notched up a double when skippering his side to victory at this venue against Northern Ireland two years ago and Baraclough's brittle backline could find the Roma hitman too hot to handle.
This Euro 2020 match between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Northern Ireland will be played on Oct 8, 2020 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland prediction.