HomeSportsPreview: Northern Ireland vs. Andorra - prediction, team news, lineups

Preview: Northern Ireland vs. Andorra – prediction, team news, lineups


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Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s friendly clash between Northern Ireland and Andorra, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Having both suffered at the hands of Spain last time out, Northern Ireland and Andorra meet in Murcia on Tuesday evening, for a season-ending friendly.

While the Andorrans lost by five to La Roja in their first June fixture, Michael O’Neill‘s men were beaten by a four-goal margin on Saturday.

Match preview

© Reuters

After beating Scotland in March, to reach their best unbeaten streak since 2019, Northern Ireland were seeking successive away wins for the first time in almost three years when arriving in Mallorca at the weekend.

However, it was all downhill following Dan Ballard‘s shock opening goal after just 71 seconds: they conceded four in the first half of a match for the first time since June 2012, as hosts Spain clicked into gear and totally dominated events at Estadi de Son Moix.

Shipping five goals overall for the first time in nearly four years, Northern Ireland were handed a chastening defeat by one of the favourites for Euro 2024 glory, but their recent record in friendlies remains fairly strong.

Having lost only four of the last 13, of which they won seven, the Green and Whites will be confident of continuing in that vein when they travel across to Murcia for a contest against one of Europe’s minnows.

Starting a major rebuild under returning boss O’Neill, Northern Ireland missed out on the Euros by some margin, finishing fifth in their qualification group and averaging under one point per game.

They will not be back in competitive action until September, in the UEFA Nations League – where Belarus, Bulgaria and Luxembourg await in League C Group 3 – but only victory will do when they wrap up their 2023-24 season on Tuesday.

Andorra coach Koldo Alvarez on October 15, 2023© Reuters

Andorra, meanwhile, will return to the Nations League’s bottom tier this autumn, in a three-team League D group also featuring Moldova and Malta.

The tiny principality – which has the fifth-smallest population of any UEFA nation – most recently met neighbours Spain in Badajoz, where Mikel Oyarzabal bagged a second-half hat-trick in La Roja’s comfortable 5-0 win.

Although Andorra had finished bottom of their Euro 2024 qualifying section, with just two points from 10 matches, they then gained some encouragement in March: holding South Africa to a 1-1 draw and being narrowly beaten by Bolivia.

Following their latest defeat, though, the Tricolors have gone 16 games without tasting victory since defeating Liechtenstein back in September 2022.

Coached by former national team goalkeeper Koldo Alvarez for the past 14 years, Andorra’s ambitions are naturally limited, but they may still dream of upsetting a Northern Ireland side undergoing a tricky transition.

Northern Ireland friendly form:

Northern Ireland form (all competitions):

Andorra friendly form:

Andorra form (all competitions):

Team News

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill before the match on September 7, 2023© Reuters

Michael O’Neill might name a more experimental XI on Tuesday evening, as he seeks to give a number of young players the opportunity to make their mark at senior international level.

After St Mirren’s Caolan Boyd-Munce started in Mallorca, Nottingham Forest defender Aaron Donnelly will now hope to win his first cap, and prospects such as Ross McCausland and Brodie Spencer may also be involved.

Captain Jonny Evans could be rested, with O’Neill possibly switching to a four-man back line against more modest opposition; fellow defender Paddy McNair missed out on the squad due to getting married, while George Saville and Shane Lavery were not called up.

Andorra, meanwhile, boast many more caps throughout their squad, and head coach Koldo Alvarez will turn to several long-serving players in midweek.

Marc Vales did not start against Spain, but the Tricolors’ 93-cap skipper is expected to feature in a back five, ahead of either Iker Alvarez or the more experienced Josep Gomes in goal.

Famed for once being sent off within 30 seconds of kickoff, Cucu scored against South Africa earlier this year and is likely to keep his place up front.

Northern Ireland possible starting lineup:
Peacock-Farrell; Spencer, Ballard, Toal, Donnelly; McCausland, S. Charles, Evans, Price; Reid, Magennis

Andorra possible starting lineup:
Gomes; San Nicolas, C. Garcia, M. Vales, Llovera, M. Garcia; C. Rubio, E. Vales, Pujol, Cervos; Cucu

SM words green background

We say: Northern Ireland 3-0 Andorra

Both teams started 2024 quite positively, so recent thrashings by Spain should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Northern Ireland will send the Green and White Army home happy, though, as their young side should see off Andorra by a comfortable margin.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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