Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland preview, team news, kick-off, live on Sky

Watch Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm or follow in our dedicated match blog on Sky Sports website and app; Watch in-game goals and free match highlights shortly after full-time

Wednesday 7 October 2020 14:29, UK

Team news and stats ahead of Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland in the European Qualifying play-off semi-finals live on Sky Sports (kick-off 7.45pm).

The pair have met recently in the Nations League, Northern Ireland lost both of their group fixtures against Bosnia and Herzegovina in September and October 2018.

The result could set up a huge all-Ireland play-off final. Playing in Path B, the winner of this tie will face either Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland in the European Qualifying play-off final on November 12.

Northern Ireland’s only other previous play-off matches in qualifying for a major tournament were in November 2017 against Switzerland, losing 1-0 on aggregate in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

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Bosnia have also never progressed in a play-off tie in qualifying for a major tournament, but have a little bit more experience under their belt. They lost 2-0 on aggregate to Portugal in November 2009 and again to the Portuguese in November 2011, this time a 6-2 aggregate defeat. There was also a 3-1 aggregate loss to the Republic of Ireland – who they could face in the play-off final next month – in November 2015.


Team news

Jonny Evans is expected to be fit for Northern Ireland after taking a in Leicester’s Premier League defeat to West Ham on Sunday, but Ian Baraclough said he had reported to camp ready to play. Baraclough added that there were “one or two bumps and bruises”, but no major issues to worry about.

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis played only a limited role in Rangers’ 2-0 win over Ross County on Sunday, coming on as an 83rd-minute substitute, meaning he is fresh as he stands to break Pat Jennings’ caps record on Thursday by making his 120th appearance.

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The match will go ahead despite Bosnia and Herzegovina assistant manager Rusmir Cviko and winger Haris Duljevic testing positive for coronavirus. Neither will be involved in Thursday’s game. Key centre-back Ermin Bicakcic will also not be available after he was forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury.

How to follow

Live Euro 2020 Qualifiers

Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Northern Ireland will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game goals in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

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What the managers have said

Bosnia and Herzegovina manager Dusan Bajevic: “We have beaten [Northern Ireland] twice, but we gave them a lot of space in those matches. We had some bad moments and we could’ve paid for them. It would be a big mistake to think that we will win the next match and that everything will play out like in the last two encounters with Northern Ireland.

“The [Northern] Irish team typically plays in a similar fashion to the English team. They are quick, strong, good at heading, very fast. They can be very awkward opponents. I believe we won’t be making mistakes and that we will capitalise on the mistakes the Irish make. There is no second leg, and I believe that we will be ready for that and that we will win.”

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough: “There’s a definite focus on making sure we are in the final come next month to give ourselves a chance to get to the Euros. Players want to be there. Players want to experience the feeling of being at a competition that is renowned worldwide now and being on the biggest stage, so there’s no bigger incentive.”

Opta stats

  • Northern Ireland have lost four of their last seven matches (W1 D2), shipping 19 goals across those seven games, including 12 in their last three.
  • Bosnia have won just four of their last 14 games in all competitions (D3 L7), losing three of their last five (W1 D1).
  • Northern Ireland have conceded 11 goals in their last four European Championship qualifiers, one more than in their previous 14 EURO qualifying matches (10).
  • Bosnia’s Amer Gojak has been directly involved in seven goals in his last four European Championship qualifying matches (4 goals, 3 assists).
  • Northern Ireland striker Josh Magennis has scored three goals as a substitute in Euro 2020 qualifying, more than any other player, finding the net in three of his last four such appearances as a substitute.

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