World Cup Qualification Europe - Czech Republic vs Northern Ireland

World Cup Qualification

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Published: 02/09/2016

World Cup Qualification Europe - Czech Republic vs Northern Ireland

September 04, 2016 20:45pm - Generali Arena

World Cup Qualification - Group C

The long road to World Cup qualification begins this weekend with Czech Republic and Northern Ireland both looking to gain an early advantage in a competitive looking Group C.

Tough group challenge for the British side

Northern Ireland will have to overcome the odds if they are to book a place at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia. However, having made their mark with a respectable showing at euro 2016, Michael O`Neill`s men will relish the challenge of trying to find a way out of a tricky Group C that also contains World champions Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

It is the perhaps the games against Czech Republic and Norway that will be the most important in deciding the fate of the Northern Irelanders. Both of those teams can be expected to be competing for coveted second place in the group with Germany expected to take top spot. Even if they do grab the runners-up spot, it may not be enough to secure a place in Russia.

Czech Republic failed to make it beyond the group stage of Euro 2016 after picking up just one point from their three group matches. Northern Ireland fared slightly better, reaching the knockout stage thanks to a group staqe win over Ukraine before eventually falling to fellow British side Wales.

Following several retirements from the squad, it will be a new-look Czech Republic team that lines up on Sunday. There will also be a new face on the coaching bench as Karel Jarolím takes charge of the team for the first time since replacing Pavel Vrba last month.

Recent form (All competitions)

Czech Republic: WLDLL

Northern Ireland: LLWLD

Betting odds and tips

Turkey, Scotland and Korea Republic have all won in the Czech Republic in the last 12 months, and that will give hope to the Northern Irish. However, prior to playing in France back in the summer, Michael O`Neill`s team draw three games in a row on the road and their overall away record has been poor. On that basis, the draw looks like the best bet.

Back the Draw at 13/5 with Bet365

By Neil Morris

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