Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland vs Slovenia

, KO: 19:45 Oct 17, 2023, Windsor Park

NORTHERN IRELAND banished some of the Euro 2024 gloom with a much-needed weekend win over San Marino but face a much tougher task when Slovenia pitch up at Windsor Park looking to take a big step towards the finals.

After beating the minnows in their Group H opener, the Irish then lost five qualifiers in a row to end any hopes of a place at Germany 2024 but they could still have a major say in how the section pans out.

It looks like Slovenia and Denmark will qualify as they both have 16 points, with Finland and Kazakhstan four points adrift. But there are still three games to play and a slip-up for the Slovenians in Belfast will throw the race wide open.

Matjaž Kek's side head to Windsor Park on a high though after crushing the Finns 3-0 on Saturday, a result that looks like being pivotal in the group. They travel to Copenhagen before finishing with a home game against the Kazakhs so Kek will be targeting three points in Belfast to give his side some breathing space.

Northern Ireland don't have anything to play for but Michael O'Neill will still be looking to build on that win over San Marino as he bids to build some momentum after a bad start to his second spell in charge.

O'Neill memorably led the Irish to Euro 2016 and with the UK and Ireland hosting the finals in 2028 he will be out to mould a side that's capable of giving the big boys a bloody nose again.

How the bookies view it

I'm surprised to see Slovenia as big as 5/4 with 888Sport after their impressive midweek win and that looks good value. Northern Ireland's best price is 27/10 at Betfair while the draw pays 11/5 with BoyleSports.

Head to head

These sides have only faced off six times before and it's Northern Ireland who hold the edge, winning three of those matches. Slovenia's 4-2 win earlier in Group F, a thriller that busted the coupon of our man Mark, was their first triumph since a 2-0 victory in the first-ever meeting back in 2008.

Players to watch

Paul Smyth's starring role in Saturday's win over San Marino should earn the QPR striker another start. He scored one, set up another, and had a second goal ruled out by VAR so it would be cruel if O'Neill denied him just a second international start.  Smyth is 6/1 at StarSports for another goal here which looks a bit overpriced.

Benjamin Sesko is another player who heads into this game with his tail up after scoring a double for Slovenia against Finland. The RB Leipzig forward is on the penalties and looks good value at 5/2 with Betfred for anytime scorer.

Anything else catch the eye?

This should be an open game as Slovenia will be going for the victory so that makes BTTS worth a punt at 11/10 with Bet365 while over 2.5 goals is 7/5 with 888Sport. I also like the 11/10 on offer at SkyBet for over 8.5 shots on target as that stat ended on 11 in the reverse fixture.

Given that Slovenia breached the Irish defence four times on home soil, it could also pay to back them for over 1.5 goals in Belfast, a bet that pays 13/8 at McBookie.

This match between Northern Ireland and Slovenia will be played on Oct 17, 2023 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Northern Ireland vs Slovenia prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.

Northern Ireland vs Slovenia Betting Tips & Predictions
Slovenia to win
Benjamin Sesko anytime scorer
Over 2.5 goals

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