Northern Ireland v Czech Republic (Mon)

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Going through their paces – the Northern Ireland squad training at Windsor Park on Sunday

BBC coverage

How to follow:
Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Ulster; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Northern Ireland will seal second place and a likely World Cup play-off spot if they avoid defeat against the Czech Republic in the Belfast qualifier.

Michael O’Neill’s team are seven points clear of the third-placed Czechs with three Group C qualifiers remaining.

O’Neill is expected to add defensive strength to the team after the 3-0 win over San Marino on Friday night.

The 4-3-3 formation would remain but Corey Evans could come in for striker Kyle Lafferty in the only change.

Lafferty was substituted in the second half in Serravalle with Josh Magennis moving from the right to take over in the central forward role.

The move paid dividends with Magennis scoring twice to ensure Northern Ireland won four games in a row for the first time.

World Cup 2018: Big-game experience key against Czechs – O’Neill

The Czechs were beaten 2-1 by group leaders Germany on Friday with the world champions scoring a late winner.

Northern Ireland played out a scoreless draw with Czech Republic in a Prague qualifier last September.

It was the third successive stalemate between the sides with the Czechs winning their other two encounters in 2001.

“It’ll be another tough game like in Prague – we defended well there but will want to show our attacking qualities this time,” said Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis.

“We will be going for the win as that is the mentality of the group. We have a great connection with the fans and need them on Monday night.

“It feels very similar to the Hungary game before the Euros. We needed the crowd and we got the goal to secure a massive result.”

Northern Ireland are aiming to qualify for a second successive major tournament and a first World Cup finals appearance since 1986.


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