Northern Ireland vs LithuaniaWorld Cup, KO: 19:45 Nov 12, 2021, Windsor Park
NORTHERN IRELAND entertains Lithuania on Friday in the most dead rubbers of meaningless World Cup qualifiers with both nations out of contention.
But it's a huge game for boss Ian Baraclough as he continues negotiations with the IFA that could hand him a new contract, despite a fairly insipid Qatar 2022 campaign.
The double-header away defeats last month in Switzerland and Bulgaria ended any faint hopes Northern Ireland still harboured about reaching a play-off spot, but in truth, they had next to no chance anyway after a campaign that has yielded one win in six.
That solitary victory came against the Baltic nation in September in an impressive 4-1 win in Vilnius. Lithuania have themselves only managed one win in the group, when they defeated Bulgaria at home.
With Lithuania two points behind the Irish, it's really a battle to avoid the ignominy of bottom place in the group. Both sides have managed a combined nine goals in 13 games between them with five of them coming when the sides met earlier!
It's unlikely to be a classic, but it's certainly a big game for Baraclough.
How the bookies view it
Recent head to heads
Northern Ireland romped to a 4-1 win in September as stated earlier and that win can be seen below. The sides have never met in Belfast.
Players to watch
Well-travelled Hull City striker Josh Magennis is a usual starter for Northern Ireland and while he's more of a worker than a scorer, he can still be dangerous. Bookies clearly think so because he's the favourite to score anytime at 31/20 with Unibet.
Lithuania's danger man is playmaker Fedor Cernych. The Jagiellonia Bialystok star netted a double in their only win in the group against Bulgaria and has scored five goals in his last four games for his club. He's of interest at 7/2 with Paddy Power to score at Windsor Park.
Anything else catch the eye?
Lithuania clearly brought out the best in Northern Ireland since four of the five goals they have netted in this group came when the sides played.
However, you wouldn't want to be getting involved at heavy odds-on for a nation with a record like Northern Ireland. They might well win, but not at that price.
Both of Northern Ireland's games at home in this group have finished goalless and despite that win in Vilnius, this has the makings of a low-scoring encounter too.
This World Cup match between Northern Ireland and Lithuania will be played on Nov 12, 2021 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Northern Ireland vs Lithuania prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.