Kick-off: 1945, 15/11/2021
Stadium: Windsor Park
TV: Sky Sports
Northern Ireland face a daunting task when taking on an Italy side looking to claim top spot in World Cup Group C.
The Azzurri are only ahead of Switzerland on goal difference and the Rossocrociati will be eyeing a convincing victory at home to Bulgaria.
We’re going for an away win by more than one clear goal here at 82/100 for our first Northern Ireland vs Italy prediction.
Northern Ireland’s Odds
Northern Ireland climbed up to third in the table on eight points, seven behind the leading duo, when edging out Lithuania 1-0 in Belfast on Friday night.
Ian Baraclough’s side bossed possession and had two strikes ruled out before the break in a dominant first half, but could not add to Benas Satkus’ 18th-minute own goal.
“It’s pleasing, of course it is,” said Baraclough, who got his first home victory in charge.
“In the first half, we were excellent, the tempo of our game and our passing, moving the ball wide and getting it into the box.
“It was as good as we’ve been in a first half and it was disappointing not to come in with more.”
However, Ireland did falter after the interval – a concerning trend a month after they lost a 1-0 lead in a 2-1 defeat away to Bulgaria.
Looking at the Northern Ireland vs Italy odds, we feel 29/10 for Draw HT/Italy FT is a fair price.
Italy have had to endure mixed fortunes since this summer’s thrilling Euro 2020 success, when shading England on penalties in the final.
They thrashed Lithuania 5-0 in September but were held to a draw by Bulgaria and have shared the spoils twice with Switzerland to set up this dramatic end to the pool.
When hosting the Nations League finals, the Azzurri lost 2-1 to Spain in the semis before beating Belgium by the same scoreline for third place.
Jorginho’s late penalty miss in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland could yet prove costly and Ireland boss Baraclough is relishing this challenge.
“I hope we can enjoy it,” he said. “I hope the players can savour nights like that. It doesn’t happen every time.
“We’ve had some really big nights here with Germany and the Netherlands and the like.
“For us, it’s massive; go and test yourselves against the European champions, the best team in Europe.”
Roberto Mancini’s visitors should be a class apart, though, and 5/1 they repeat March’s 2-0 win from the reverse fixture in Parma completes our Northern Ireland vs Italy betting tips.
NORTHERN IRELAND 1-0 Lithuania – Benas Satkus (og)
ITALY 1-1 Switzerland – Giovanni Di Lorenzo
Head-to-head: Italy 2-0 N Ireland, Italy 3-0 N Ireland, N Ireland 0-0 Italy, Italy 3-0 N Ireland
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