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Slovenia vs Northern Ireland predictions: Depleted visitors may be set to suffer
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Daniel Childs
It has been a difficult Euro 2024 qualifying campaign to date for Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland
It has been a difficult Euro 2024 qualifying campaign to date for Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland

- Slovenia have won three of their last four home fixtures
- Northern Ireland have lost each of their last three matches by a 1-0 scoreline
- Recommended bet: Slovenia to win

Northern Ireland have taken just three points from four matches in qualifying for next year's European Championship and need to turn things around drastically this month, which starts with a tough match against Slovenia in Ljubljana.

Michael O'Neill's side have not added to their tally since a 2-0 success away to San Marino at the start of Euro 2024 qualifying and they are running out of time to make an impression on Group H.

Slovenia have had a much better start, collecting seven points from a possible 12, and remain unbeaten on home soil after a victory over San Marino (2-0) and a draw against Denmark (1-1)

The Slovenians head to San Marino on Sunday and will be targeting a six-point week to put themselves right in the mix for a top-two finish.

Team news

Slovenia are weakened by the absence of Fenerbahce midfielder Miha Zajc, who has withdrawn from the squad and returned to his club.

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak is part of the group and will captain the side.

Northern Ireland manager O'Neill is working with a severely depleted group.

Shayne Lavery (hamstring) and Dale Taylor (calf) withdrew last Friday and Dan Ballard (unspecified injury) is rated doubtful.

Winger Jordan Jones, full-back Brodie Spencer and centre-back Eoin Toal have been called up as replacements.

O'Neill was unable to include injured cohort Steven Davis, Stuart Dallas, Corry Evans, Conor Bradley, Jamal Lewis and Aaron Donnelly in the squad.

Goalkeeper Jan Oblak will captain Slovenia in Ljubljana
Goalkeeper Jan Oblak will captain Slovenia in Ljubljana

The stats

Slovenia have lost just one of their last 10 fixtures and haven't been defeated on home soil since a 2-0 reverse against Sweden in their 2022 Nations League campaign.

The Slovenians have won five of their last eight matches, although four of those successes were by a single goal.

Northern Ireland have suffered a trio of 1-0 defeats since starting off qualifying with a 2-0 victory away to San Marino.

The Green and White Army have won just two of their last 11 competitive fixtures.


O'Neill did some amazing work in his first spell as Northern Ireland manager but his team have sustained three defeats in four Euro 2024 qualifiers and their slim qualification hopes could further recede with a loss to Slovenia in Ljubljana.

O'Neill was at the helm when Northern Ireland qualified for Euro 2016, ensuring their participation at a major tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.

But he left his position in 2020 and the team has largely struggled in the interim period.

O'Neill has returned as manager but inherited a side on a downward trajectory. Euro 2024 qualifying started positively but 1-0 losses at home to Finland and Kazakhstan and away at Denmark have left them on the back foot.

The Slovenia fixture looks like a must-win but O'Neill's options are limited and he may be forced to lean heavily on experienced defenders Jonny Evans and Craig Cathcart, who have been short of football this summer.

It looks like a great time to take on Northern Ireland and that will not have escaped the attention of Slovenia head coach Matjaz Kek.

Kek's team are handily placed in the group and they look a solid wager to post another victory and move onto 10 points at the halfway stage.

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SloveniaNorthern IrelandEuropean Championship
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