Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill believes that the UEFA Nations League is good for the unheralded nations. O’Neill said, “I think it’s good. I think it’s probably better for smaller nations like ourselves in the sense of it’s very difficult to organise friendlies with the calibre of this. It’s expensive to try and do it as well.
The fact we are in competition now, which has the reward of a promotion-relegation situation. But it also has the route to Euro 2020 as well which is a good thing. We are happy with the format, we look forward to the games. The games will prepare us for what lies ahead when the draw is made for Euro 2020.”
Northern Ireland are in League B of the Nations League. They are in Group 3 of the League alongside Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Northern Ireland play their first match against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
O’Neill said of the match, “It will be a tough game, there is no doubt about that. They were unlucky to miss out on a play-off spot for the World Cup finals, like ourselves. They lost one game really – it was Cyprus that cost them. They have Miralem Pjanic, who is one of the top midfielders in Europe, and Edin Dzeko, a renowned European striker as well.
I think they provide a tough, tough game for us with Robert Prosinecki [head coach] coming in for his first competitive game – they will prove a very stiff challenge.”