Kick-off: 1945, 08/10/2020
Stadium: Grbavica Stadium
TV: Sky Sports
Northern Ireland face a tough task when travelling to Sarajevo to face Bosnia and Herzegovina in Thursday night’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off.
The visitors are 12 places higher in the FIFA rankings, but their hosts have a far more talented team on paper and beat them twice in the Nations League two years ago.
We reckon 19/20 for a home win is a gift and that gets a confident vote for our first Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland prediction.
A Look At Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Betting Odds
Bosnia and Herzegovina could manage only fourth place in Group J behind Italy, Finland and Greece, but did secure three wins and a draw from five home fixtures.
They had previously topped Group B3 of the Nations League thanks to beating Austria and Northern Ireland in front of their own fans, as well as prevailing 2-1 in Belfast.
The hosts must overcome the psychological scars of having fallen at this point in the last two European Championship campaigns, but this is a side featuring some world-class performers.
Roma striker Edin Dzeko is their talismanic captain, with the 34-year-old having scored 59 goals in 109 international appearances.
Miralem Pjanic, who switched from Juventus to Barcelona this summer, is the midfield general, while Istanbul Basaksehir winger Edin Visca is another player to watch out for.
Arsenal left-back Sead Kolasinac is a familiar face in defence and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has always been a solid shot-stopper.
Time is running out for such talented individuals to feature at another major tournament, but they are fancied to keep hopes alive by outclassing the men in green.
Looking at the Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland odds, we’re snapping up 47/25 for Dzeko to score in a home victory.
A Look At Northern Ireland’s Betting Odds
Northern Ireland showed plenty of spirit when finishing third behind Germany and Holland in Group C of this competition, winning all four games against Belarus and Estonia.
They only took one point off the big two, but did at least claim consolation goals when going down 6-1 away to Die Mannschaft and 3-1 when visiting the Netherlands.
Having performed with credit at Euro 2016, they will be keen to stay in the hunt for a place at next summer’s event, with the winner of this tie taking on Republic of Ireland or Slovakia.
“It’s massive, absolutely huge,” said Hull forward Josh Magennis, who scored in a 3-1 win over Greece at Windsor Park back in 2015 that saw them reach their first major finals in 30 years.
“A lot of people don’t have the chance or opportunity to go to major tournaments for their country and to do that already is massive.
“To be able to do it twice or multiple times is something you literally dreamed of as a child.
“It would solidify that journey we’ve been on for the last eight years or so, to show we’re not a one-trick pony, that we’re a team that can compete regardless.”
However, Ian Baraclough’s side lack the quality of their opponents in our book and have been leaking plenty of goals over the past year or so.
The visitors have conceded 12 times in their last four away games and were thrashed 5-1 on home turf by Norway in a recent Nations League contest.
Let’s finish off our Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland betting tips by taking 5/2 for a home win and over 2.5 goals in the game.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 1-2 Poland – Haris Hajradinovic
NORTHERN IRELAND 1-5 Norway – Paddy McNair
Head-to-head: Bosnia-H 2-0 N Ireland, N Ireland 1-2 Bosnia-H
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