Northern Ireland set for another solid performance
World Cup qualifier
Sky Sports Football, 7.45pm Sunday
Yet to concede to anyone other than Germany in World Cup qualifying, it’s fair to assume that Northern Ireland will sign off from their campaign with a low-scoring game, no matter what the stakes.
A solid display from Northern Ireland should be expected, because that’s how they seem to approach every game.
Norway, despite signs of improvement under Lars Lagerback, are hardly a force these days and are set to be less potent in the absence of Josh King, who picked up a hamstring injury after bagging a pair in Thursday’s 8-0 romp in San Marino.
Norway have been a chronic disappointment in this campaign – the height of their ambition now is to finish above Azerbaijan. That’s how far their stock has fallen.
The ship has been steadied since Lagerback’s arrival in Oslo just before their 2-0 loss in Belfast in March. They are now unbeaten in four at home including draws against the Czechs and Sweden. A 6-0 battering by Germany, however, demonstrated they are still basically a poor outfit.
Routing San Marino will have given them a lift but Lagerback will quite likely ring the changes to take a look at the likes of young defenders Birger Meling and Sigurd Rosted.
A suggested bet is under 1.5 goals given that Northern Ireland, regardless of whether or not they need a point, would love to secure one anyway to sign off unbeaten against every team but Germany.
Northern Ireland's four away games have produced six goals, while Norway have scored just four times in their seven fixtures that weren't against San Marino.
Under 1.5 goals
1pt 15-8 BetBright
Bournemouth striker Josh King has limped out of the squad with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Sander Berge is a doubt.
Michael O’Neill has six players who are one booking away from a suspension.
One or both teams have failed to score in 17 of Northern Ireland’s last 18 matches.
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