Northern Ireland v Italy: Pressure on Azzurri in final game
Preview and odds for Monday’s World Cup qualifier
Northern Ireland are unable to qualify for next year’s World Cup, but could have a big say in deciding who tops Group C as they welcome Italy to Windsor Park on Monday evening.
Ian Baraclough’s side picked up their second victory of the qualifying campaign when beating Lithuania on Friday evening and they will be looking for a historic victory over the European champions as we pick out some Northern Ireland v Italy betting tips.
Monday’s match in Belfast kicks off at 7.45pm and can be seen live on Sky Sports.
Northern Ireland v Italy match odds
It has been a disappointing campaign for Northern Ireland, who have mustered only eight points from their seven fixtures so far.
A confidence-boosting victory on Friday night will have lifted morale somewhat, but the task at hand for the hosts is shown by their odds of 12/1.
The Azzurri are in pole position for a place in Qatar courtesy of their superior goal difference and although a draw, which is 9/2, could be enough to ensure qualification if Switzerland fail to beat Bulgaria, they will be looking to hammer home their advantage in the standings with a victory at 2/7.
Roberto Mancini’s side saw their world record 37-game unbeaten run end in their Nations League semi-final with Spain last month and their once dependable back line has conceded in their last three contests, which opens the door for both teams to score here at 6/5.
However, if you fancy the Italians to get back to their resolute best, they can be backed at 20/23 to win to nil, while a #YourCall punt on Italy to win either half, keep a clean sheet and score over 1.5 goals in the match comes in at 11/8 in the Northern Ireland v Italy betting tips.
Northern Ireland v Italy head-to-head
The hosts’ only victory over Italy was back in 1958 and recent history does not read kindly for the Green And White Army.
Although they managed to hold the Azzurri to a 0-0 draw here at Windsor Park in 2010, the last two encounters have seen Italy win to nil.
It finished 2-0 to the Italians when they met in Parma in March and a repeat of that scoreline is available at 9/2. Both goals came in the first half on that occasion and it is 3/4 for Italy to win the first 45.
Northern Ireland v Italy key battles
Playing against the Italians is always as big a test of the mind as it is skill and ability, with the Azzurri astute game managers accustomed to outwitting their opponents.
Mancini’s side have developed a winning culture and it will be hard for Northern Ireland to record a shock victory here.
Front man Ciro Immobile already has 10 goals for Lazio in Serie A this season and is sure to be central to the Azzurri putting Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s goal under pressure.
The Sheffield Wednesday shot-stopper has been one of the standouts of Northern Ireland’s qualification campaign and is likely to have to be at his best once again here.
If Peacock-Farrell excels then 11/4 for a single Italy goal is a possibility, but if Italy get on a roll then over 2.5 at 6/5 would appeal as Italy look to seal World Cup qualification in our Northern Ireland v Italy betting tips.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication