International Night: Get your predictions in now

Prediction time. No need to rehearse what’s at stake tonight. Republic of Ireland fans will be hoping the Italians and Bulgarians play out a draw, but it’s Northern Ireland and the Scots who have it all to play for tonight. My prediction: 1-0 with Paterson the hero for Northern Ireland, setting up a tense encounter with the Czechs in Prague with first and second- and third- still up for grabs; 2-1 to the Dutch. No time for Scottish dreamers tonight, I’m afraid. Oh, and the English to batter the Croats 3-0.

  • Davros

    I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.

  • Sam Thompson

    Italy to draw, the Northern Irish to win 2-1, Scotland to earn a battling draw 1-1 and England to probably put 4 or 5 past Croatia. And a 3-0 victory for each of Andorra, Liechtenstein and San Marino…

  • Barnshee

    Draw 1-1

  • Liam

    Well I can see the North claiming a famous victory tonight! If you pardon the irony I feel Windsor Park has turned itself into a bit of a Celtic Park on Champions League night. Both Teams are able to play well above their own standard to beat world class opposition with fans providing an intimidating backdrop. Possibly the biggest match the North have played in years!

    Saw “A Night in November” last and got my world cup juices flowing! fantastic performance by Paddy Kielty who (love him or hate him) performs on his own for two hours and isn’t even an actor! Brilliant.

    Here’s hoping for a draw between Bulgaria and Italy!
    Can’t see it myself though!

    Good luck one and all!

  • random_quotes

    Far too many ifs and buts, but heres hoping NI can put in a big shift and win. I think a Martin Paterson winner is a good call.

    Isn’t it exciting though!?!

  • Kloot

    For those trapped in London, the Famous 3 Kings in West Kensington show all the qualifiers simultaneously.

  • DoctorWho

    Well it is definately scripted for Patterson to make amends for the two gilt edged chances he missed on Saturday, let´s hope it goes according to the script. 2.1 Northern Ireland. 0.0 Italy v Bulgaria, 1.3 Scotland v Netherlands, 0.8 England v Croatia.
    GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,
    GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA, GAWA,GAWA,GAWA,GAWA.

  • DoctorWho

    Not good, plenty of posession but if im honest Slovakia looked head and shoulders better than us tonight. We played at 400mph in the first half but at times resembled headless chickens. Unlucky with the Niall McGinn effort, but overall no complaints, we where not creative enough.

    We needed a win tonight to have any chance of first or second, what we need now is a big result in Prague in order to avoid finishing fourth or fifth. As Greavsie says “it´s a funny old game”.

  • smcgiff

    Northern Ireland – close but no cigar. Still excellent campaign from which to build. Although a number of players coming to an end of their careers.

    ROI almost certain now of 2nd place, but still an outside bet to make the finals. We’ve a very weak mid-field, not helped by injury and managerial preferences.

    England through, with Scotland and Wales aiming for respectable finishes.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Slovakia proved why they’re table toppers tonight, succeeding where many sides with larger reputations have failed in recent years.

    The Republic now just require one point from two fixtures to effectively secure a Play Off place.

    Let’s hope for a ‘friendly’ draw….

  • lizard

    Depression: I would really like to wish our neighbours Ireland and our fellow citizens in the UK all the best. But I can’t. Maybe in the morning.

  • Submariner

    As Greavsie says “it´s a funny old game”.

    It certainly is im still pissing myself

  • DoctorWho

    submariner

    Why, are you not toilet trained yet ya prick?

  • JohnJoe

    Was down in Limerick to see Darren Gibson from Derry playing for Ireland, had a good game. Laughed myself silly tonight looking at the Makey Uppey country knocked out. I think its time for David Healy to play for his country and start preparing for South Africa.

  • uniter

    David Healy will not get a chance to play for his nation, given the form of Gerrard and Lennon.
    Now that we have qualified, It’s looking like England v Brazil for the final.

  • Feirsteach

    I am just so delighted that the Northeastern counties won’t be goin to South Africa to disgrace us all by waving english flags eventhough they’re born on the island of Ireland. God is good, God is great.

  • DoctorWho

    Feirsteach

    I have been to many NI matches and the only time I have seen an English flag is when they´ve played England.

    “God is good, God is great.”

    Of course if a muslim fundamentalist posted that we would call him a nutter.

  • Thereyouarenow

    Can we borrow Stephen Davis, Kyle Lafferty for our remaining two games as we are short of a few quality players. Normally I would have said Araan Hughes as well but that was a bit of a soft goal he conceded last night. Alright can we have Arann as well. Players did swap around in the old days or so I am told.

    All in all not a bad effort by NI as I believe there were a number of Good/average teams in that group and I would say Ireland would have struggled to qualify from that group as well.

    Re: Scotland. This should have been a good group to at least finish second in.

    I myself would give Burley another campaign as I believe that international managers need experience in that role. Who off hand will Scotland get that is any better.

  • Tim

    If you think Kyle Lafferty would replace Keane or Doyle you’re living in coo-coo land!

  • DoctorWho

    Group 3 is a difficult group, Slovakia where the forth seeded team and have been on the up recently. Slovenia where ridiculously the fifth seeded side even though they where at the World Cup finals as recently as 2002.

    While it is disapointing that we won´t go to SA, I think there are plenty of positives to take away from the group, namely the emergence of Kyle Lafferty as a top quality striker, the continual progress of Jonny Evans and despite last nights defeat we have shown we will compete with anyone at Windsor Park.

    Areas of concern are long term repalcements for Maik Taylor, Keith Gillespie and Damian Johnson but that aside the futures bright. One decent result in Prague should ensure we maintain our status as a 3rd seeded side for the Euro Championships and with two automatic qualifiers from each group for that tournament, I think we have shown it is not beyond us.

    Onwards and Upwards.

  • Thereyouarenow

    Reply to Tim

    Oh I should have asked for Jonny Evans of course (should have been first ask I suppose)

    Lafferty would be a good back up for us.

    Is there any other quality players that I have missed

  • DoctorWho

    “Is there any other quality players that I have missed”

    You need goalkeeper back up, although you could still bring Paddy Kenny along just in case anyone runs out of recreational drugs.

  • Thereyouarenow

    Reply to Doctor Who

    Maik Taylor is a very good goalkeeper

    But we have Kieren Westwood who is a promising young goal keeper.

    I did raise this question in a football forum somewhere. The question is this NI team as good or nearly as good as the teams that qualified for WC in 82 and 86.

    You have Taylor in goal Hughes and Evans in defence, Davis in midfield and Lafferty and Healy as strikers.

    The backbone of this team are probably not that far off the backbone of the team in 82/86.

    I wonder if this is evidence that it is harder to qualify now than back then.

    My theory may be backed up by Scotlands inability to qualify for WC. They used to qualify regularly back in the day.

    Anyway when the EuroChamps is increased to 32 teams maybe our teams will at least make these finals.

    I wonder if the supporters od Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland(??) would be happy if ROI qualified to give them some respite from the English media that will be all consumed(and thats a minimium)by England at a world cup.

    I believe is is better if at least one other team from the British and Irish isles qualifies just so that there will be some relief from the English media.

  • Tim

    ‘You need goalkeeper back up’

    Taylor is likely to spend the whole season keeping the Birmingham bench warm.

    A bit like Healy at Sunderland.

    Evans has the potential to be a top class defender, but unless Vidic or Ferdinand leave Man U, he’s likely to be a fill-in when the main central defenders are injured.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Hard luck on the British teams last night, all losing. Wales gone, Scotland gone, NI hanging on.
    Looks difficult for NI now, relying on good fortune and luck to determine the remaining results. But still, anything is possible, anyting can happen.

    But still ye’s can always support England ……and sure why not?

    🙂

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Well I can see the North claiming a famous victory tonight! If you pardon the irony I feel Windsor Park has turned itself into a bit of a Celtic Park on Champions League night.”

    Terrible prediiction Liam! Did you read the Tarot Cards or the tea leaves in a tea cup?

  • DoctorWho

    Thereyouarenow

    As promising as the current NI squad is it does not come near the squad of 82-86.

    Around the period 83-84 we where one of the best teams in Europe. For qualification for Euro 84 we beat the Germans home and away but failed to qualify on goal difference. The current rules would´ve seen us qualify. Of course back then the finals only had 8 qualifiers.

    The best team from that era would read Jennings, Donaghy, J. Nicholl, C. Nicholl, McClelland, M. O´Neill, McIlroy, Armstrong, Whiteside, B.Hamilton, Stewart. subs Platt, Nelson, J.O´Neill, D. McCreery, Cassidy.

    It´s also woth remembering that NI where the last winners of the Home International Championship.

    It is definately harder to qualify out of the Euro section for the World Cup as the number of teams has increased since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. There are only 13 places from 53 European teams up for grabs.

    Incidentally the Euro Chamoinships of 2016 will have 24 teams, not 32.

  • Dev

    Spare a thought for Luxembourg who got their asses handed to them on a plate by Israel, 7-0, yikes!

    NI supporters shouldn’t lose hope just yet, it ain’t over until its over, plus smaller teams like NI or RoI can often perform well above their average when backs are gainst the wall.

    I still have a sneaking suspicion RoI might mess things up but that’s mainly based on the fact that teams I support usually let me down .. like Dewi says, I can take despair, it’s the hope I can’t stand!

    Finally, as someone who lives in Eng-er-land, on the one hand it will be fun to have a bit of a festival spirit going on during the tournament cos they qualified but on the other, its gonna be a real pain in the ass if they actually win thing .. plus if RoI do qualify I’d quite like to take a wee trip to S.A. but I already seen a report on Sky News today about flights & hotels getting booked out

  • Dec

    Around the period 83-84 we where one of the best teams in Europe. For qualification for Euro 84 we beat the Germans home and away but failed to qualify on goal difference.

    I wouldn’t go that far (bearing in mind Europe includes Germany France and Italy nevermind England and Spain) – though the team did perform well in excess of it’s individual components (essentially journeymen defenders and midfielders with virtually zero striking threat) and achieved some excellent results in qualifying (I seem to recall good results against the dutch during the 1978 qualifiers). The 1982 World Cup campaign is rightfully remembered for beating Spain but their other results hardly set the competition ablaze – draws against Yugoslavia, Austria and Honduras and a drubbing at the hands of a brilliant French team. 1986 is best forgotten about with only a solitary point against Algeria before the flight home.

  • DoctorWho

    dec

    The ´82 team where certainly not a team of journeymen. O´Neill was winning European cups with Notts Forest, while McIlroy, J. Nicholl and D. McCreery had been stalwarts in an exciting Man U team of which Norman Whiteside was an emerging star. Not forgetting Arsenal´s goalkeeper Pat Jennings who if he wasn´t the best keeper in the world was certainly in the top one.

    Billy Hamilton was a prolific forward for Burnley and Gerry Armstrong, who was at Watford at the time became a target for many clubs after that campaign.

    Drawing games with Yugoslavia and an excellent Austria team was no mean feat and loosing to the excellent French side was not without it´s controversies, if you remember O´Neill had a perfectly good goal disallowed when it was nil, nil.

    It was just after that campaign when that side where at their pinacle and when they came up against the likes of Sweeden, Portugal, West Germany, etc. we fully ecpected to win.

    The ´86 team where perhaps ageing a bit, but the qualifying campaign with the away win in Romania and the draw at Wembley where the best memories.

    The pre Bingham side manged by the legendary Blanchflower where highly entertaining and yes gave the great Dutch side of the 1970´s two great matches in 1976/77. We took the only point that the Dutch where to drop that campaign with a 2.2 draw in Amsterdam which we should´ve won, they beat us 1.0 at Windsor due to a very dodgy referee. Blanchflower is famously quoted at the time when he said “our tactics have always been to equalise before the the other team scores”. Indeed.

  • Dec

    The ´82 team where certainly not a team of journeymen. O´Neill was winning European cups with Notts Forest, while McIlroy, J. Nicholl and D. McCreery had been stalwarts in an exciting Man U team of which Norman Whiteside was an emerging star. Not forgetting Arsenal´s goalkeeper Pat Jennings who if he wasn´t the best keeper in the world was certainly in the top one.

    Doctor

    Please. O’Neill was a good solid player (who didn’t make the Forest team in the 79 final. The Man Utd players were equally solid professionals in a frankly poor United team (Whiteside was a freak of nature when he burst on the scene but ultimately what did his career really amount to?). Pat Jennings was well best his best. Are you seriously claiming he was a better keeper than Dino Zoff in the early 1980s?

    Billy Hamilton was a prolific forward for Burnley and Gerry Armstrong, who was at Watford at the time became a target for many clubs after that campaign.

    Burnley were in the old second division at the time and Gerry Armstrong got a transfer to a second division Spanish club.

    Drawing games with Yugoslavia and an excellent Austria team was no mean feat and loosing to the excellent French side was not without it´s controversies, if you remember O´Neill had a perfectly good goal disallowed when it was nil, nil.

    I’d argue whether that (or indeed any) Austrian team was excellent. 0-0 with Yugoslavia was a good resulyt. 1-1 with Honduras anything but. Frankly NI were lucky France took their dfoot off the gas at 4-0. But they were a brilliant team so there’s no shame attached there.

    The pre Bingham side manged by the legendary Blanchflower where highly entertaining and yes gave the great Dutch side of the 1970´s two great matches in 1976/77. We took the only point that the Dutch where to drop that campaign with a 2.2 draw in Amsterdam which we should´ve won, they beat us 1.0 at Windsor due to a very dodgy referee.

    Yes, but Holland went onto the World Cup Final in 1978 (and but for 6 inches of post they would have won). Similarly, despite beating West Germany twice in the 84 Euro qualifiers, Germany still managed to appear in 3 consecutive World Cup finals from 82-90. The point is, despite occasionally punching well above their weight in qualifying, NI were not ‘one of the best teams in Europe’.

  • DoctorWho

    DEC

    Prior to the 79 Euro Cup final Martin O´Neill was injured, he declared himself fit for the final but Clough put him on the bench. He won TWO euro Cup final medals.

    The United players while not playing in the most successful United team, where gifted and Sammy McIlroy at his peak was a class act. Rather ironically when Big Fat Ron bought Bryan Robson he challenged Sammy to show his worth, Sammy obliged by scoring a hat trick, it didn´t stop Ron from dropping him for Robson the very next match.

    Pat Jennings was Arsenal´s first choice keeper until 1985 so he was hardly passed it and his displays showed that. As for your expalnation that Whiteside was a “freak”, hmmm charming.

    The Austrian side which you clearly know nothing about included the brilliant Hans krankl, Wurt Welzl, Bruno Prezzey and the two Inter Milan players Herbert Prohaska and Walter Schachner. They gained a draw with the excellent French side in the second phase, that result deemed the NI match with France effectively a quarter final.

    The team NI had then could compete with anyone, and where the only side in history to beat a West German side home and away in a qualifying tournament.

    Your last paragraph confirms my point as that NI beat sides that then went on to win things and appear in finals. The rating system operated by UEFA back then was very different to today and was based on a longer historical backlog of results. I am trying to find a link but I recall in an unoffical table NI where ranked 7 in Europe in Dec 1884, the fact they where then placed in the third set of seeds for qualification for Mexico 86 was controversial as results dating back to 1972 where taken into consideration.

    Yes they did punch above their weight (in the same way the ROI continually under acheived at this time) and continue to do so, we have no right to qualify for tournament finals, but the competitive nature of our side will never lie down.

    Yes our early to mid eighties team was solid with reliable sound team players, not dis-similar to the Greece side that won Euro 2004, a great team with no world beating individuals but a great team nevertheless.

  • DoctorWho

    Oh and of course we still are the reigning British Champions.

    Onwards and Upwards.

  • Thereyouarenow

    Well I got an interesting debate going about the Ni team of the 82/86 team.

    In fairness they had some good players alright.

    As an aside Hans Krankl was some player back then.I dont really know how good the rest of the Austrian team were at that time but they had qualified for the world cup. Mind yoyu they have really really disappeared fom the radar since.

  • DoctorWho

    Thereyouarenow

    Dec talks about Gerry Armstrong in a derogatory manner, when the guy had a pretty distinguished career. He plyed in two World Cup Finals, scored 13 international goals and holds the distinction of scoring Watfords first ever goal in top flight football.

    When he went to Spain in 1982 he played for Real Mallorca who where then a very ambitious club, he score 12 goals in his first season and helped win tem promotion to La Liga 1. He was at imes on the end of abuse from opposition supporters for scoring that goal against Spain in the ´82 world cup on that glorious night in Valencia, a feat which Dec also forgets. He was voted best British player in that tournament.

    Austria did go off the radar a bit, their best ever performance in a World Cup Finals was in 1954 when they finished 3rd after beating Uruguay 3.1 in the play off. Their most effective period was in 78-82, in 78 they topped their group in Argentina but where elimnated in the 2nd phase losing heavily to the supreme Dutch, but they stuffed the Germans in a thrilling match. Since 82 then they have qualified twice in 1990 and 1998.

    They where seen as pretty dificult oponents in those days.