Northern Ireland play hosts to Portugal in the next round of World Cup qualifying as Ireland look to gain ground on the group leaders.
- (Photo: Reuters/file)
One positive that Northern Ireland can take going into this match is the fact that they claimed their first win under manager Michael O'Neill when they beat Fabio Capello's Russia 1-0 last month.
The result was good for the team's confidence, but O'Neill is level headed going into this match and how to approach the Portugese.
"It's important they have a difficult night and that they know from the word go that they're going to have a difficult night," said O'Neill. "I think it would be foolhardy of us to go and play a really open game and say to Portugal 'come and play us, you attack us and we'll attack you.'"
Northern Ireland was able to earn a 1-1 draw last October in Porto, but have since had a disappointing qualifying campaign which currently sees them in the fourth spot with a mere six points.
They will be looking to finish strongly and a trip to Luxembourg lies ahead on Tuesday, but challenging for a top-two finish looks out of reach as Portugal vie with Russia for automatic qualification.
Paulo Bento's side are currently two points clear at the top and have played an extra game, so they are wary of slipping up on a night when Russia are also at home to Luxembourg.
"Northern Ireland have a chance, so maybe it is possible that they attack a bit more," explained Bento. "The Russia match was another warning. We knew this match would be tough but that game and the way they beat Russia showed that they're a really strong squad. It was a warning for us."
Kick-off for the match is at 2:45 ET and can be watched online here.