Estonia v Northern Ireland
Sunday 5 September, 17:00
Estonia can take positives from recent losses
Estonia fell to their third straight World Cup Qualifying defeat on Thursday, but it did come against Belgium, and they did at least score twice in a 2-5 defeat.
In between their trio of Group E losses, there was some better news, as Thomas Häberli’s side won the Baltic Cup, beating both Latvia and Lithuania.
Ahead of their trip to Wales on Wednesday, the Estonians are in friendly action against the Northern Irish, and they will probably view it as a more important match than their opponents.
Norn still on the World Cup hunt
Ian Baraclough’s men beat another Eastern European team on Thursday, seeing off Lithuania 4-1 in Vilnius. That victory saw them move up to third in Group C, and they face a crunch game against Switzerland on Wednesday.
Given that fact, Baraclough will be rotating his squad, and given that Jonny Evans, Stuart Dallas, Corry Evans, George Saville, Josh Magennis and Liam Boyce are already out injured, the XI he will put out will be even more inexperienced than usual.
Clearly they will want to continue their recent momentum, but this game really doesn’t matter, and the Swiss await at Windsor Park.
Despite all of the above, the visitors are still the favourites for the win.
On the Betfair Exchange, you can back the away win at around the 2.1211/10 mark, while the home win is 3.711/4 and the draw 3.39/4.
These two nations met twice in Euro 2020 qualifying in 2019, with Northern Ireland winning both. They only edged them 2-0 and 2-1 though, and they were arguably a better team back then.
Given all of the changes expected for the Irish, I actually make the hosts a decent bet here. They score goals at least – netting twice in all three of their World Cup Qualifiers to date, and they will be buoyed by their Baltic Cup success.
On the goal-front, Under 2.5 is favoured by the market at 1.728/11, with the Over at 2.35/4.
I took Over 2.5 at odds-against in Northern Ireland’s 4-1 victory in Lithuania, and it was the third time in five games that it landed.
The Estonians managed to score twice against Belgium – taking the lead, in fact – and they will fancy their chances of racking up a few against what will be an inexperienced defence.
My Bet Builder for this friendly is going to combine my two selections of Estonia to win and Over 2.5 Goals, along with both teams to score and Estonia to be leading at Half Time. That comes in at 13.46 and will hopefully add to the winning Bet Builder I recommended in Northern Ireland’s last match.