N Ireland v Luxembourg preview
O'Neill missing Little but Evans fit for World Cup qualifier
Last Updated: September 11, 2012 11:03am
Jonny Evans: Fit and available for Northern Ireland despite recent ankle problem
Northern Ireland have the chance to get their World Cup qualifying campaign up and running when they entertain Luxembourg on Tuesday night.
Michael O'Neill's men faced a tough trip to Russia in Friday's Group F opener and lost 2-0 courtesy of goals from Viktor Fayzulin and Roman Shirokov.
Shirokov scored from the penalty spot and O'Neill was left nursing a sense of injustice as he felt the decision to award a spot-kick against Craig Cathcart was harsh.
Attention has now turned to the visit of Luxembourg to Windsor Park, and Northern Ireland will be relying on their home form to keep them in contention for qualification.
O'Neill could therefore decide to name a more attacking line-up, with the fit-again Shane Ferguson perhaps returning on the left and Chris Brunt on the right wing.
Andy Little, however, has been ruled out with a foot problem and sent back to Rangers to work on his recovery.
Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is fit to play despite feeling some pain in his ankle during the Russia match, and O'Neill has no other injury concerns.
Roy Carroll is set to once again line up in goal, with Lee Camp pulling out of the squad due to personal reasons and Trevor Carson called up as cover.
O'Neill has warned fans not to expect an easy match, though, after Luxembourg gave Portugal a major fright on Friday.
Daniel da Mota fired Luxembourg in front before Portugal battled back to claim a narrow 2-1 victory.
"When you look at the group we have you could say the perception is that this will be our easiest game, but you'd only need to have a conversation with the Portuguese and their manager to know it's not going to be straightforward," said O'Neill.
"I wouldn't say it's as easy a game as you'll get. If you look at Luxembourg, you'll see in recent times their games have been very close.
"In their last few games they've been beaten 2-1 by Georgia, 1-0 by Switzerland, they beat Macedonia 2-1.
"That gives you an indication that this is not a team, with all due respect, that's a San Marino or a Liechtenstein that is getting beaten 7-0 or 8-0 in qualifying games.
"The biggest thing against Portugal was their work-rate and their willingness to work. They played with a 4-5-1 formation, had a lot of energy in midfield and scored a great goal from a wide area.
"Going ahead gave them a massive boost and they worked very hard for each other. I've no doubt they'll do the same."
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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Tue 11th Sep - Group E
Cyprus1 - 0Iceland
Norway2 - 1Slovenia
Switzerland2 - 0Albania
Tue 11th Sep - Group F
Israel0 - 4Russia
N Ireland1 - 1Luxembourg
Portugal3 - 0Azerbaijan
Tue 11th Sep - Group I
Georgia0 - 1Spain
France3 - 1Belarus
Tue 11th Sep - Group D
Romania4 - 0Andorra
Turkey3 - 0Estonia
Hungary1 - 4Netherlands
Tue 11th Sep - Group B
Bulgaria1 - 0Armenia
Italy2 - 0Malta
Tue 11th Sep - Group G
Bosnia4 - 1Latvia
Slovakia2 - 0Liechtenstein
Greece2 - 0Lithuania
Tue 11th Sep - Group A
Serbia6 - 1Wales
Belgium1 - 1Croatia
Scotland1 - 1Macedonia
Tue 11th Sep - Group H
San Marino0 - 6Montenegro
Poland2 - 0Moldova
England1 - 1Ukraine
Tue 11th Sep - Group C
Sweden2 - 0Kazakhstan
Austria1 - 2Germany
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||6||11|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I