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Euro 2016 qualifiers: Qualified Northern Ireland face foiled Finland

| 11.10.2015

A 3-1 triumph over Greece in their previous Euro 2016 qualifying encounter saw Northern Ireland historically reach their first major tournament since 1986, and Michael O’Neill’s men can go into the final clash with Finland on a high.

The Green and White Army are 5/2 with Coral to overcome their Finnish opposition on the road, with Mixu Paatelainen’s hosts having already failed to qualify for France after slipping four points adrift of Hungary in Group F before their final fixture.

Soccer - UEFA European Championship Qualifying - Group F - Northern Ireland v Greece - Windsor Park

Having stormed to the summit of the standings ahead of Romania and Hungary, O’Neill was obviously jubilant, as Northern Ireland can now prepare for their first ever European finals.

“The players were outstanding. Right through the team, they were magnificent,” stated O’Neill. “This shows the potential of this team and of football in Northern Ireland.

“How have we done it? I’m not really sure. The players deserve the ultimate credit.

“We have confidence and belief which comes from winning games. I’m proud to stand here as their manager. The preparations for France start now.”

Southampton midfielder Steven Davis was on target twice during the Greece victory at Windsor Park in Belfast, and the Premier League ace is 33/1 to strike another double or more, while goalkeeper-turned-striker Josh Magennis is 2/1 to follow up his recent goal with another anytime.

Soccer - UEFA European Championship Qualifying - Group F - Northern Ireland v Greece - Windsor Park

Northern Ireland’s successful qualifying campaign has been primarily built on the scoring exploits of Norwich City frontman Kyle Lafferty, and the targetman is 13/2 to open proceedings on his return from suspension, having missed the Greece win. The Canaries centre forward is also a tasty 10/1 to notch-up a brace or more on his comeback to action.

Finland’s key attacking danger could be that of Joel Pohjanpalo, who has three in nine qualifying appearances, and the 21-year-old Fortuna Dusseldorf forward is 7/4 to strike past the Northern Irish rear guard on home turf.

After such an emotional night in Belfast, the visiting nation may be suffering from the aftermath of their celebrations, and Finland are 23/20 to capitalise with a victory, while a stalemate is available at 2/1.

Betting tip: Kyle Lafferty scores two or more @ 10/1



Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.