Finland vs Northern Ireland predictions: Finns should shut out struggling visitors
- Both teams have scored in only two of Finland's last 10 internationals
- Seven of Northern Ireland's last 10 defeats have been by a 1-0 scoreline
- Recommended bet: Finland to win to zero
Finland's hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2024 have been ended by a run of three straight defeats in Group H although their Nations League performances mean they are guaranteed a place in the play-offs.
Friday's opponents Northern Ireland have no such second chance available after a disappointing campaign in which their only points have come in 2-0 and 3-0 victories over San Marino.
Michael O'Neill's men have been on the wrong end of several 1-0 defeats in Group H. Their lack of attacking firepower is a major concern as, ignoring those two predictable wins against San Marino, they have scored just twice in six games.
Finland could recall the experienced Jere Uronen at left-back. Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky will captain the side and former Norwich forward Teemu Pukki is hoping to add to his tally of 38 international goals.
Northern Ireland are missing the suspended Shea Charles, who was sent off against Slovenia in October. Paddy McNair is back from a ban and he could start at centre-back as Manchester United's Jonny Evans is an injury absentee. Conor Hazard should start in goal as Bailey Peacock-Farrell (knee) has withdrawn from the squad.
Both teams have scored in only two of Finland's last 10 internationals.
The Finns have kept clean sheets in their last six victories.
Sixteen of Finland's last 20 home matches have had under 2.5 goals.
NI have lost six of their last seven games, while seven of their last 10 defeats have been by a 1-0 scoreline.
Northern Ireland's first eight qualifying games have produced only 16 goals.
With Finland destined for the play-offs and Northern Ireland unable to qualify for next summer's finals by any route, there is little riding on Friday's clash in terms of league position.
NI boss O'Neill will be desperate for a positive result, however, while his Finnish counterpart Markku Kanerva is aiming to snap a three-match losing streak.
Kanerva's men lost to an 86th-minute goal against Denmark and conceded twice in the last 15 minutes of a 2-1 defeat to Kazakhstan in their last two home matches but they should get back to winning ways on Friday.
Northern Ireland's dismal goalscoring record means Finland are worth backing to win and keep a clean sheet.
They have shut out their opponents in each of their last six international wins and goalkeeper Hradecky should be full of confidence after his early-season displays for Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen.
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