Euro 2016 qualifiers: Northern Ireland Hungary for landmark victory
Michael O’Neil’s Northern Ireland are on the cusp of qualifying for Euro 2016 which will make it the first time they have made it to the European Championships in their history. The last time they were at a finals, was the 1986 World Cup in the days of Billy Bingham.
Should they beat Hungary at Windsor Park, a price they are 31/20 to do with Coral, it will cap a fantastic qualifying campaign, which would have seen them rack up six wins and counting.
In the reverse, last time out, O’Neil’s side came from a goal down to sink their opponents 2-1 thanks to strikes from Niall McGinn and Kyle Lafferty, with the duo 13/2 or 11/2 respectively to break the deadlock this time. Tamas Priskin who got the opener on that occasion, is 2/1 to score in the anytime market.
The reverse fixture, marked the start of an upward trajectory for Northern Ireland who have rarely tasted success in modern footballing history, though they are now playing with a confidence and swagger about them. Lafferty’s winner was his first international goal in two years and he and his teammates have not looked back since.
“I don’t really look at the friendly results,” says O’Neill referring to Northern Ireland’s success. “The 1-18 statistic didn’t reflect what we were and were becoming. My biggest concern was if I lost the belief of the players, and we’ve worked on trying to create a spirit, discipline.
“But you need results and we got one in Hungary. There was something about our team that night, they weren’t going to be beaten. I saw that, the belief that they could turn a defeat into a victory. Now there’s a whole different dynamic.”
They looked comfortable last time out as they swept aside Faroe Islands 3-1 to go top of the group, thanks to a brace from Gareth McAuley and a Lafferty strike. The former is 11/2 in the anytime market.
Meanwhile, the last time these two sides met at Windsor Park, was a friendly in 2008 finishing 2-0 to the visitors, with Zoltan Gera on target. Still playing at the age of 36 the former West Bromwich Albion attacker is 10/3 to dispatch anytime.
Coral’s top tip: Lafferty to score first @ 11/2