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Key Events

90' + 6'
P. McNair
Yellow Card
90' + 3'
P. Mantalos
Yellow Card
G. Tzavellas
Yellow Card
G. Whyte
Yellow Card
A. Bakasetas
D. Limnios
0 - 1

Match Stats

46% 53%
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 2 2
Total Passes 375 452
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Live table
Pos Team P W D L F A +/- PTS Form
1 Greece GRE Greece 6 5 0 1 10 2 +8 15 W L W W W
2 Kosovo RKS Kosovo 6 3 0 3 11 8 +3 9 W L L W L
3 Northern Ireland NIR Northern Ireland 6 1 2 3 7 10 -3 5 L W D L D
4 Cyprus CYP Cyprus 6 1 2 3 4 12 -8 5 L W D L D


Relegation Play-off


That's all from Windsor Park today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
Northern Ireland now travel to Cyprus, where they will target an improved performance on Sunday, while Greece meet fellow first-day winners Kosovo in Pristina on the same day.
Despite a brief resurgence in the second half, Northern Ireland fall to another Nations League defeat in their opening match of the new campaign, and their wait for a first-ever win in the competition goes on. Victory in his first competitive match in charge is merited reward for Greece coach Poyet, whose team were well organised and dominated the ball for long spells, albeit without frequently troubling their hosts' goal. The Greeks appear to be the team to beat at this third-tier level, and they are off to the perfect start ahead of three more fixtures in the coming week.
P. McNair
Yellow Card
90' + 6' McNair is booked for a foul on Tsimikas, just inside his own half.
90' + 5' Lafferty commits a foul on Mantalos deep inside the Greece half, as perhaps the final hope of a Northern Ireland equaliser fades.
P. Mantalos
Yellow Card
90' + 3' For time-wasting near the corner flag, Mantalos is shown a yellow card by the referee.
G. Baldock
L. Rota
90' + 2' An impressive appearance comes to an end for right-back Rota, and Baldock makes his international debut in the dying minutes of the game.
90' Five minutes of stoppage time have been indicated by the officials, as Greece prepare another substitution.
88' After a yellow card is brandished towards Jimmy Nicholl on the bench, for his protestations about stopping the game, the action gets back under way. Can Northern Ireland find an equaliser? They are certainly throwing everything at it now!
87' McGinn turns a dangerous ball into the box, as Northern Ireland apply ever more intense pressure, but Mavropanos then goes down clutching his ankle - much to the audible disapproval of the hosts' coaching staff. The game comes to a halt.
85' JUST OVER! The free-kick awarded for a foul five yards outside the box is taken by Lafferty, who has not scored an international goal in over five years, but it only clips the top of the net on its way over the crossbar.
G. Tzavellas
Yellow Card
84' Only moments after his arrival from the bench, Tzavellas is booked for a lunging challenge on Dion Charles.
G. Tzavellas
E. Siopis
82' Poyet has switched to a back five for the final few minutes, as Siopis is withdrawn from midfield and Tzavellas is thrown on.
81' The series of substitutions has disrupted Northern Ireland's momentum, and time is now running out to save a point from today's game.
S. Charles
G. Saville
79' Saville is the latest man withdrawn by Baraclough, and Manchester City teenager Shea Charles makes his senior international debut.
T. Hume
P. Lane
78' After a tough match out on the left flank, Lane is replaced by Hume.
77' An outswinging cross by Lane from the left touchline nearly picks out Charles in the six-yard box, but appears to be deflected behind for a corner. However, the officials then change their minds and a Greece goal-kick is indicated.
74' Defying his advancing years, Davis races back to halt a dangerous Greece counter-attack and keep his nation in with a shout of salvaging something from their opening Group J game.
73' Northern Ireland force a corner on the right, which the substitute Kourbelis rises highest to head clear of danger.
D. Charles
G. Whyte
71' In search of an equaliser, Northern Ireland make another change, as Whyte is taken off and Charles comes on.
T. Chatzigiovanis
G. Giakoumakis
69' Giakoumakis is the third man withdrawn by Poyet, as Chatzigiovanis comes on.
D. Kourbelis
A. Bakasetas
69' Greece captain Bakasetas is replaced by Kourbelis.
V. Pavlidis
D. Limnios
69' Greece make a triple change for the final 20 minutes. First, Limnios makes way for Pavlidis.
68' Northern Ireland are now edging their way on top in this encounter, as captain Davis strikes a shot from outside the box high and wide of the right-hand post.
66' SAVE! The substitutes combine, as McGinn strikes towards goal from the left side of the area following build-up play from Saville and Lafferty. However, his shot lacks power and Vlachodimos makes a routine save in the centre of his six-yard box.
64' It appears that the hosts have shifted shape after Baraclough's double substitution - there will be some more attacking intent, with Lafferty supported by McGinn and Whyte.
N. McGinn
C. Bradley
62' An industrious shift comes to an end for teenager Bradley; now replaced by the experienced McGinn, who earns his 71st international cap.
K. Lafferty
S. Lavery
62' After a frustrating hour of few chances, Lavery makes way for veteran striker Lafferty up front.
61' In midfield, Mavropanos is penalised for a crunching challenge on Lavery, who looks set to be substituted.
59' Both Bakasetas and a limping Lane return to the fray, as the action resumes.
58' Another McCann foul, this time on Bakasetas, brings play to a halt. The Greece captain recieves treatment from the medics, while Lane is also down on the turf with a possible muscular problem.
56' The home fans have responded to Northern Ireland's brief upturn with some boisterous support, but Baraclough is apparently not convinced and looks to be readying substitutes on the touchline.
54' Northern Ireland finally apply a short spell of pressure, which ends with a couple of balls into the box. The second, by Lavery, is headed clear before McCann is then penalised for a foul.
52' CLOSE! Excellent work down the right sees Limnios drive towards the byline, and his firm, low cross towards the centre of the six-yard box somehow evades the outstretched boot of Giakoumakis, who really should have taken the invitation and scored!
50' As Tsimikas attempts to break forward with a surge down the left, Bradley is late with his challenge and commits a foul on his clubmate. Again, the young full-back narrowly avoids a yellow card.
48' A clumsy aerial challenge by Lane on Limnios knocks the latter to the turf, and some medical checks are required before the Greece winger can return to the action, which he ultimately does moments later.
47' A sedate start to the second half sees Northern Ireland continuing to struggle for possession, despite all their harrying. Greece are already back in control.
46' We are back under way in Belfast!
Northern Ireland's forward pairing have been unable to link up with their team-mates much during the first half, and Baraclough's current setup does not seem to suit their strengths. Will experienced campaigners such as Lafferty and McGinn feature after the interval? Some fresh impetus is surely needed to stoke the Windsor Park crowd, or yet another Nations League game could go by without a first-ever victory.
An underwhelming first 45 minutes of the new Nations League campaign sees Northern Ireland deservedly trailing by a goal at home to Greece, who have been patient in possession and clinical in scoring the opener with one of just three shots. While the hosts have failed to retain the ball or attack with any purpose, their Mediterranean counterparts look capable of adding more goals in the second half if the Green and White Army don't improve.
45' After Tsimikas disposesses Bradley then slides the ball across to Bakasetas, the latter feeds Rota with a low pass out to the right side of the box. However, he slices across his shot from a tight angle and the ball flies well off target.
43' For the first time today, Windsor Park has been quietened, as Northern Ireland come to terms with falling behind. An equaliser before half-time would certainly brighten the mood, but they have posed little attacking threat so far.
G. Whyte
Yellow Card
41' A mistimed attempt at taking the ball off Rota in midfield sees Whyte receive the game's first yellow card.
D. Limnios
39' Marrying a burst of pace with a cool head, Limnios drives into the area and pulls the ball back into a perfect spot for Bakasetas to shoot.
A. Bakasetas
39' GREECE GO AHEAD! The visitors take a merited lead before the break, as Limnios raids down the right side of the area on the counter; cutting back for his captain Bakasetas on the edge of the box. The latter guides the ball into the bottom-left corner with a well-placed strike, and Greece go 1-0 up in Belfast!
36' Every green jersey is back inside the defensive half, as Northern Ireland's isolated forwards drop ever deeper in search of a rare touch. Nonetheless, Greece have yet to truly test Peacock-Farrell.
34' Saville brings down Mantalos in midfield, which invites more pressure from Greece, who regain complete control of possession. However, Limnios can't latch onto a long ball up from the back and the ball goes out for a goal-kick.
32' Not for the first time, Ballard chases back to cover for Northern Ireland, and makes a crucial intervention inside the area. The hosts are struggling to keep Greece at bay here, and would probably be glad to go in level at half-time.
29' More patient build-up by Greece ends in a deep outswinging cross by Tsimikas towards the penalty spot, which is headed away from danger, but the visitors are edging themselves further on top in this opening day encounter.
27' Lane sends an inviting ball into the box from a 40-yard free-kick in a central position, but there are no green shirts poised to take advantage and the ball drifts straight through to Vlachodimos.
25' Again, Bradley doggedly defends against Tsimikas, and a block on the latter's cross from the left side of the box takes all the pace off the ball, before Northern Ireland ultimately manage to get the ball clear.
23' SAVE! Peacock-Farrell is forced into action for the first time, as Giakoumakis heads towards the top corner from the left side of the area, following a cross to the back post by his captain, Bakasetas. It is a fairly straightforward save, though.
22' Despite having 69 per cent of the ball so far, Greece have yet to force a shot on goal, which is perhaps unsurprising, as their squad have only 26 international goals between them.
20' Bradley is penalised for a late challenge on his Liverpool team-mate Tsimikas, as the pair continue a running battle on Northern Ireland's right flank.
18' The first shot on target comes from the home side, as Whyte scuffs a 20-yard effort straight at Vlachodimos in the Greece goal.
17' An accidental handball by McCann brings a halt to a promising move for Northern Ireland, as the referee awards a free-kick to the visitors.
15' Saville has a cross from the left side of the area blocked out for a throw-in amid some uncertain Greek defending. Then, Ballard hurls the ball into the box, but Mavropanos clears his lines with a towering defensive header.
13' Having made a patient start, drawing the sting from opponents fired up by the noisy Windsor Park crowd, Greece start to enjoy a little more territorial advantage but cannot prise open the Northern Ireland defence.
11' When these nations met back in October 2015, current Northern Ireland captain Davis scored twice in a 3-0 victory that sealed their qualification for Euro 2016, and the Rangers midfielder is winning his 135th cap today.
9' Northern Ireland are pressing high up on their opponents, to some effect, as Greece struggle to play out of their own half and build any attacking momentum.
7' Siopis is back on his feet, and takes his place in central midfield for an away side who have had most of the possession so far.
6' After being caught by McNair in midfield, Siopis goes down hurt, and the game is paused while the Greece midfielder receives treatment.
5' An overhit free-kick into the Greece box by McNair drifts into the hands of Vlachodimos, who is unchallenged by any green Northern Ireland shirts.
3' Ballard covers across well to deny Giakoumakis space to turn near the penalty area, and wins a free-kick amid a scrappy start to the match.
1' We are under way in Belfast!
The players are out on the pitch at Windsor Park, with kick-off now just moments away!
With no players having earned more than 45 international caps, a transitional Greece side features Benfica goalkeeper Vlachodimos, Liverpool left-back Tsimikas and Celtic's Giakoumakis up front. Poyet has opted to retain a 4-3-3 formation, with Mantalos and Limnios in wide attacking roles.
Compared to the starting XI that faced Hungary back in March, Northern Ireland make a quartet of changes today, with the most prominent being the return of Evans in central defence. Saville, Bradley and Lavery are also included, while Cathcart, Magennis and McGinn drop out.
SUBS: Georgios Athanasiadis, Alexandros Paschalakis, Vangelis Pavlidis, Dimitrios Giannoulis, Sotiris Alexandropoulos, Christos Tzolis, Dimitrios Kourbelis, Georgios Tzavellas, George Baldock, Anastasios Douvikas, Tasos Chatzigiovanis, Giannis Papanikolaou.
GREECE (4-3-3): Odisseas Vlachodimos; Lazaros Rota, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Pantelis Hatzidiakos, Konstantinos Tsimikas; Andreas Bouchalakis, Manolis Siopis, Anastasios Bakasetas; Dimitris Limnios, Georgios Giakoumakis, Petros Mantalos.
SUBS: Luke Southwood, Trevor Carson, Conor McMenamin, Ciaron Brown, Shea Charles, Dion Charles, Kyle Lafferty, Liam Donnelly, Charlie McCann, Alfie McCalmont, Trai Hume, Niall McGinn.
NORTHERN IRELAND (3-5-2): Bailey Peacock-Farrell; Danny Ballard, Jonny Evans, Paddy McNair; Conor Bradley, George Saville, Alistair McCann, Steven Davis, Paddy Lane; Gavin Whyte, Shayne Lavery.
After finishing second to Slovenia last time around, in a close-run battle for promotion to the Nations League's second tier, Greece are again aiming to win their group, which also features Kosovo and neighbours Cyprus. Like today's opponents, the Galanolefki came third in their Qatar 2022 qualifying group, and former Bordeaux manager Gus Poyet has since been appointed as head coach - in his first two friendly games in charge, a 1-0 win in Romania was followed by defeat in Montenegro. Nonetheless, Greece remain unbeaten in their last six Nations League games; keeping clean sheets in each of the last four.
Northern Ireland kick off their third Nations League campaign today having enjoyed improved fortunes during the past few months. In the second half of Ian Baraclough's 22-game spell in charge, the Green and White army have posted five wins, while draws against both Switzerland and Italy helped them finish a respectable third in World Cup Qualifying Group C. Having previously failed to taste victory in any of his first 11 games at the helm, Baraclough is now looking ahead to a quartet of fixtures this month, as Northern Ireland - who have yet to win a Nations League match - bid to book a direct return to League B, following their relegation back in 2020.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's UEFA Nations League encounter between Northern Ireland and Greece at Windsor Park!