Wales v Northern Ireland: Euro rookies begin crucial preparation

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When Wales and Northern Ireland take to the pitch at Cardiff City’ stadium tonight, it will mark the first match in what is going to be an historic year for both nations.

Both the Dragons and Norn Iron have already re-written the history books by qualifying for a first European Championships, and it makes sense to get their pre-tournament preparations underway against each other.

Michael O’Neill suffered a blow earlier this month when Chris Brunt was ruled out of the tournament after undergoing knee surgery.

If there is a silver lining however, it’s that Northern Ireland have time to adapt to the West Brom man’s absence.

A lot has been made of Gareth Bale’s role in Wales’ fortunes this summer, but the Real Madrid man will be missing these upcoming friendlies, allowing Chris Coleman to prepare on the off chance the world’s most expensive player suffers an injury pre-tournament.

The hosts went unbeaten on home turf during qualification, and a 3-2 defeat versus the Netherlands in November was the only loss in Wales’ last nine in Cardiff.

With just two defeats in their last six on the road however, Northern Ireland have proven sturdy travellers.

Wales are 13/10 for victory, with the draw 2/1 and a win for the Green and White Army available at 23/10.

It may only be a friendly, but both sides will be keen to kick off their ground breaking years with the right result, so ahead of the game we’ve got a couple of price boosts to enjoy.

We’re enhancing Wales to win and both teams to score from 9/2 to 11/2, but if you fancy the away side to repeat the Dutch’s goalfest victory, we’re also boosting Northern Ireland to win and both teams to score from 6/1 to 7/1.

It’s a huge year for both countries, and you can rest assured Coleman and O’Neill will want to get off on the right foot tonight in Cardiff.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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