Skip to content
Full Time After Extra Time This is a live match. Extra Time Half Time

Northern Ireland vs Romania. European Championship Qualifying Group F.

Windsor Park.

Northern Ireland v Romania preview: Roy Carroll out of top-of-the-the-table clash

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll
Image: Roy Carroll: Ruled out of Romania clash

Northern Ireland head into their top-of-the-table clash with Romania confident they can reach their first European Championship.

Michael O'Neill's men will make great progress towards boarding the plane to France next summer if they beat Group F leaders Romania at Windsor Park.

A draw would also be viewed as a positive result for O’Neill side, with it keeping their destiny in their own hands.

Live Euro 2016 Qualifiers

Romania won the first fixture between the sides 2-0 in Bucharest and they are unbeaten in the group having conceded just once in their last five matches.

Kyle Lafferty will be tasked with causing the Romanian defence plenty of problems, in what is arguably Northern Ireland’s biggest game in their recent history. His two goals against Finland in their last Euro qualifier gave his country a real cutting edge up front.

Northern Ireland will certainly be looking to improve on their low key 1-1 draw with Qatar in Crewe last month.

Team news

Goalkeeper Roy Carroll has been ruled out of Saturday's match due to abdominal pain. Hamilton shot-stopper Michael McGovern, who has just three friendly caps to his name, is in line to deputise.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Northern Ireland face Romania today at Windsor Park after a new stand was built just six weeks after the old one had to be bulldozed.

Otherwise O'Neill has a full squad to pick from.

Romania forward Claudiu Keșerü says he is "100 per cent fit" for the game at Windsor Park, easing the injury crisis faced by Anghel Iordănescu's men.

"At this moment I cannot even name a probable starting XI because of our problems," he said. "Since my first press conference, other problems have arisen. Răzvan Raț and Lucian Sănmărtean have returned from treatment in Belgrade, but it's impossible to say what their situation is.

Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty scores his team's first goal against Finland
Image: Kyle Lafferty: Has scored five goals so far in qualifying

"Both have started to train, but separately, according to a schedule decided by our doctor. Yesterday, Florin Andone picked up an ankle injury, while Keșerü also started to train, but he had to take it easy."

Match facts

Northern Ireland have scored at least twice each of their last three home games.

Romania have not appeared at a major championship since 2008 but they are unbeaten in their last nine matches in all competitions.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Michael O'Neill expects Romania to prove tough opposition when his Northern Ireland side come to host the Group F leaders.

Kyle Lafferty has five goals in five games so far in qualifying - only England's Danny Welbeck (6) has scored more.


Group F leaders Romania are 6/4 to go to Belfast and win, making them 1/3 favourites to top the table by the end of the campaign.

Northern Ireland are 21/10 to win on the night, and 4/1 to go on and win the group. Either way, the bookmakers expect Michael O’Neill’s men to qualify for Euro 2016, with Sky Bet offering just 1/5 for them to make the finals in France.

Kyle Lafferty is 12/5 to add to his tally this campaign, while he’s the value bet in the first goal market at 7/1, though Claudiu Keseru of Romania is the 11/2 favourite. 

Around Sky