Northern Ireland resume their qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup on Thursday, when they face a trip to Lithuania.
Neither nation has managed to claim victory a match in the group yet, two rounds of games in, making this something of a must-win occasion if the Green and White Army have hopes of making it to the play-off spot.
That in itself is a huge task, with European champions Italy well clear at the top already and Switzerland comfortable favourites for second, but Northern Ireland at least kept themselves in contention early on by taking a draw from the home game with Bulgaria last time out, following defeat to Italy.
Lithuania lost to both the top two nations in their first games, and neither nation has yet managed to find the back of the net in qualifying.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game.
When is the match?
The game kicks off at 7:45pm (BST) on Thursday 2 September at the Vilniaus LFF Stadionas.
Where can I watch it?
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football. Subscribers can stream the match via the Sky Go app. If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription. We may earn commission from some of the links in this article, but we never allow this to influence our content.
What is the team news?
Goalkeeper Tomas Svedkauskas started the first two qualifiers but is now without a club and has not been called up, so his place will be taken by either 36-year-old veteran Ernestas Setkus or any of three others in the squad who have just one cap between them. Captain Fedor Cernych will lead the attack but further changes could be made in the line behind him, with Lithuania yet to score in the group and the likes of Gratas Sirgedas also missing through injury.
Northern Ireland have lost Jonny Evans and Josh Magennis from the initial squad through injury, both starters in the opening two games. Jamal Lewis could start on the left of a back four if Ian Baraclough wants a more adventurous outlook, while Kyle Lafferty’s late call-up as a replacement for Magennis makes him only the second player in the squad to have double figures in international goals – he has 20, but none since 2016.
LIT – Setkus; Lasickas , Klimavicius, Gaspuitis, Slavickas; Simkus; Novikovas, Dakpus, Slivka, Kazlauskas; Cernych
NIR – Peacock-Farrell; Ballard, McNair, Cathcart, Lewis; Davis, Saville, Evans, Dallas; Washington, Whyte
Northern Ireland 6/7
Both teams need to start winning if they have vague ambitions to take a top-two spot, which will be extremely difficult in any case. Cancelling each other out with a lack of attacking quality is likely. Lithuania 1-1 Northern Ireland.
Source: Read Full Article