Bulgaria vs Northern IrelandWorld Cup, KO: 19:45 Oct 12, 2021, Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski
NORTHERN IRELAND play a crunch game in Bulgaria as their slim hopes of a World Cup play-off place are on the brink of collapse.
Ian Baraclough's side lost a painful match in Switzerland on Saturday although they were severely hampered by the ludicrous sending off of Jamal Lewis for timewasting in the first half.
It was an uphill struggle anyway and defeat leaves them six points behind the second-places Swiss with only three matches left to play.
However, the Bulgarians are in an even worse position after a shambolic 3-1 defeat to bottom dogs Lithuania as the Baltic nation picked up their first points in the group after five straight losses.
Bulgaria have only won once in the group, but they did hold European champions Italy to a draw away from home so there is talent there.
But they are far too inconsistent as the weekend shocker in Vilnius showed.
How the bookies view it
Recent head to heads
This will be the ninth meeting between the two countries and the Northern Irish have only won two of them and the last of which came in 1979.
Here's the goalless draw at Windsor Park back in March this year.
Players to watch
Ludogorets striker Kiril Despodov has scored six goals for club and country in 17 appearances this season and netted in Lithuania. He's 4/1 with Betway to score anytime.
Former Hearts striker Conor Washington has been a prolific scorer for Charlton Athletic and started as the Irish striker in Geneva. He's 10/3 with Paddy Power to score.
Anything else catch the eye?
It's hard to see a classic here in this qualifier featuring two nations very low in confidence. The draw is the obvious call and it could even be goalless.
Northern Ireland have failed to score now in seven of their last eight matches and that accounts for why under 2.5 goals is as low as 1/2 generally.
The 7/5 with SportNation for under 1.5 goals must have a real chance too with both teams almost certainly already out of the World Cup.
This World Cup match between Bulgaria and Northern Ireland will be played on Oct 12, 2021 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Bulgaria vs Northern Ireland prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.