What a difference a decade makes. During the 2004 European Championship qualifying stage, Northern Ireland finished dead last in its group and failed to even score a goal. Fast forward 12 years later, Northern Ireland won its group in the Euro qualifying stage and clinched a spot at the tournament for the first time in team history. Northern Ireland, which has a population of just 1.8 million, is no stranger to international competitions, having played in three World Cups and reaching the tournament’s quarter-finals on two occasions — in 1958 and 1982.
Their very first international game was one to forget as Northern Ireland was blanked 13-0 in a friendly against England in 1882. Once ranked 129th in the FIFA world rankings, Northern Ireland — also known as the Green and White Army — vaulted up the list to No. 29. The team plays its home games at Windsor Park, which first opened in 1905 and underwent extensive renovations in 1996 and 2015. The stadium, which has a capacity of 20,000, is where Northern Ireland secured its first European Championship berth after defeating Greece 3-1 on Oct. 8, 2015.
Pat Jennings, Northern Ireland’s goalkeeper from 1964 to 1986, is the country’s all-time leader with 119 international caps. However, Southampton midfielder Steven Davis — Northern Ireland’s captain — is climbing the list with 81 caps.
David Healy played three years with the national team and remains at the top of the all-time scoring list with 36 goals.
Northern Ireland Soccer Team Betting Lines Today
Before place your bet, make sure to keep track of who Northern Ireland’s next opponent will be. Follow live game odds and whether or not Northern Ireland has home field advantage.
Northern Ireland Soccer Team Scores & Schedule
Stay up to date on Nothern Ireland’s schedule and up-to-date odds — whether its at Euro 2016 or World Cup qualification — using the table below.
Northern Ireland opens Euro 2016 with a tough match against Poland on June 12, before taking on Ukraine on June 16. The team’s biggest test, however, will come in its final game against defending World Cup champions Germany on June 21.
Northern Ireland Soccer Team Standings Right Now
Pay close attention and keep a close eye on where Northern Ireland sits in the standings before making your wager.
Traditionally underdogs regardless of the competition, Northern Ireland rarely can be found at the top of the standings. However, under manager Michael O’Neill, the team will remain competitive and will battle for qualification whether it is the World Cup or European Championship.
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How To Win At Northern Ireland Soccer Team Betting
Many critics would argue Northern Ireland received an extremely favourable Euro 2016 qualifying group, which included Romania, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Finland and Greece.
Yet, the team still finished qualifying with six wins, three draws and one loss to collect 21 points and win the group. Despite the early criticism, the Green and White Army are now looking to prove those naysayers wrong when they open European Championship in a very tough Group C, which includes World Cup champions Germany, Poland and Ukraine.
One believer that Northern Ireland can shock the soccer world is team captain Steven Davis, who in a recent interview with the Telegraph said that group games against Poland and Ukraine will be their “best chance of taking points.”
If Northern Ireland advances out of the group stage at Euro 2016, it needs a strong performance Norwich striker Kyle Lafferty, who dominated during the qualifying stage with seven goals in 10 matches.
Another player to watch will be centre-back Gareth McAuley — a late-bloomer at 36 years of age — who is a rock on defence. The West Bromwich Albion defender scored a pair of crucial goals during qualifying in Faroe Islands.
While Northern Ireland will keep matches close with their feisty style, betting on them to come out of the group is asking too much. Bodog odds have Northern Ireland as +25000 favourites to win it all, making them one of biggest long shot teams at Euro 2016. Only Albania, also making their European Championship debut, is a bigger outsider.
Ready to place your bet on Northern Ireland? Here are some online sportsbook options that will help make your wagering decisions easier.