11 October 2019
The Netherlands and Northern Ireland go head-to-head at De Kuip for a showdown that sees the two nations battling it out for a second place in the 2020 European Championship Qualifying (ECQ) Group C.
Beating Northern Ireland at home might prove vital in the hosts’ efforts to return to the big stage after missing out on Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Trailing their forthcoming rivals by three points, the Oranje pulled off three wins in four ECQ matches (W3, L1), with all of those triumphs seeing them score four goals precisely. A 3-2 defeat to Germany in the second qualifying round has brought to a halt the Netherlands’ six-game winning home run in all competitions. Ronald Koeman’s devastating firepower has scored 2+ match goals in each of those six victories, netting a total of 19 goals across those games. The aforementioned reverse was also the first time since a shock 3-2 loss to the Czech Republic in October 2015 that the Netherlands conceded more than one goal per competitive home fixture.
Just like it was the case with the Netherlands, the Germans proved too strong for Northern Ireland too, putting an end to their run of four consecutive wins in the ongoing qualifying campaign. Although three of the Norn Iron’s four ECQ wins saw them score two goals precisely, just two of those successes have witnessed them come out on top by a margin of two goals. However, notably improved on the road, Michael O’Neill’s players have gone from four straight away games without a win (D1, L3) to two consecutive triumphs. Five of those matches have featured less than three goals and seen just one side hitting the back of the net.
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