These two sides bring up the rear in group C and Northern Ireland will just be hoping for an improved performance after a dismal qualifying campaign. Their only victory did come over Lithuania themselves, a 4-1 success in Vilnius, with the other points they’ve picked up achieved against Bulgaria and Switzerland at Windsor Park.
Northern Ireland have only won three of 20 fixtures since November 2019, as in addition to the reverse fixture with Lithuania, their other victories were garnered against Malta and Estonia.
However, the three sides they’ve beaten are all ranked outside the world’s top 100 according to FIFA, with the next-worst team they’ve encountered during this period 70th-ranked Bulgaria. With that in mind, this should mean a rare win for Ian Baraclough’s outfit.
Over 2.5 Goals
Although that reverse fixture produced five goals, Northern Ireland’s games aren’t usually packed with opportunities. Over 90 minutes, 11 of their past 16 appearances have seen fewer than three strikes, including five of six on home turf.
However, Lithuania’s defence is particularly poor, conceding 18 goals from their seven qualifiers, and the hosts could release the handbrake without any great pressure coming into this game with qualification out of the picture.
Lithuania have now lost 10 of their past 11 fixtures, failing to score in eight of these games. They conceded at least four times in five of these defeats, including the reverse fixture and a trip to Kosovo, while seven of the 11 matches featured at least four goals in total.
Northern Ireland/Northern Ireland HT/FT
In qualifiers alone, Lithuania are W1-D2-19 since November 2016, conceding at least twice in 16 of the 22 games. Away from home they’ve lost 10 of 11 winless games over this period, trailing at both half time and full time in eight of these, and it would come as no surprise to see the same outcome here.
Indeed, across all competitions, four of Northern Ireland’s five victories since October 2019 have seen them lead at the break.
Centre-back Daniel Ballard is Ian Baraclough’s only injury concern ahead of this clash, with Jamal Lewis returning from suspension at left-back.
Crucially, veteran centre-back Jonny Evans also returns having missed Northern Ireland’s past seven outings, so they should be more secure at the back this time around.
OVER 2.5 GOALS
NORTHERN IRELAND/NORTHERN IRELAND HT/FT