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Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria: Predictions
Michael O’Neill’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat in their opening game of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers last week as they travelled to Italy only to taste defeat to Roberto Mancini’s side. O’Neil’s side were not handed a confidence boost on the weekend wither as they faced the USA in a 2-1 international friendly loss.
Bulgaria will also be aiming to get some points on the board on Wednesday night having lost their opening two games of the qualifying group with defeats to Switzerland in their opening game and then Italy over the weekend. Yasen Petrov’s side had fallen three goals behind in the opening 13 minutes in their opener against Switzerland and despite a goal straight after half-time the damage had already been done and Kiril Despodov’s goal counted for nothing more than a consolation.
Northern Ireland are now without a win in their last seven games – having lost six and drawing with Romania. O’Neill’s side have the odds stacked against them if they are to qualify for the 2022 World Cup given the last time the country qualified for a World Cup was back in 1986.
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Northern Ireland vs Bulgaria: Match Stats
Without a win in their last seven games, Northern Ireland will view this game as a great opportunity to get the monkey off their back and pile the misery of bottom of the table Bulgaria. Some of the Northern Ireland players have labelled this game as a ‘must win’ if they hope to progress to the 2022 World Cup and considering Bulgaria have already conceded five goals in two games it is certainly one they are capable of winning.
Neither side has proven to be great in defence over the past few games with Northern Ireland conceding four in their past two outings and Bulgaria five in the same number of games. Wednesday’s hosts have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 games and Bulgaria having only kept two in their last 11.
6 February 2008 – Northern Ireland 0-1 Bulgaria – Friendly
2 June 2001 – Northern Ireland 0-1 Bulgaria – World Cup Qualifier
28 March 2001 – Bulgaria 4-3 Northern Ireland – World Cup Qualifier
2 May 1979 – Northern Ireland 2-1 Bulgaria – Euro Qualifier
Across the seven meetings between these two nations in all competitions, the Northern Irish have only beaten Bulgaria twice with the Lions tallying four wins and two draws. Although games against these two nations are few and far between the last time Northern Ireland beat Bulgaria was in 1979.