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Northern Ireland v Romania background

Northern Ireland have a chance to take top spot in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group F from Romania as the section's two pacesetters come together for a second time.

Northern Ireland will look to take top spot in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group F as they seek a third successive home win against leaders Romania.

Previous meetings
• A 2-0 defeat in Bucharest in November means that Northern Ireland's record in five games against Romania reads W3 D0 L2 (W2 D0 L0 in Belfast). Those matches include a friendly on neutral territory, in the United States, which Romania won 2-0.

Romania have won the last two meetings between the nations, both by a 2-0 margin: Paul Papp scored their goals in November, while Tiberiu Bălan (7) and Daniel Niculae (13) struck as Lawrie Sanchez's Northern Ireland came unstuck in the aforementioned friendly in Chicago on 27 May 2006, a game in which James Quinn (38) was sent off.

• Bryan Hamilton's Northern Ireland had previously overcome Anghel Iordănescu's Romania 2-0 at home in a 23 March 1994 friendly, Steve Morrow (42) and Phil Gray (50) the men on target.

• The sides' only previous competitive meetings were in 1986 FIFA World Cup qualifying. Billy Bingham's Northern Ireland beat Mircea Lucescu's Romania 3-2 in Belfast on 12 September 1984. Gheorghe Hagi (36) scored his first international goal to cancel out an own goal from team-mate Gino Iorgulescu (34), but strikes from Norman Whiteside (61) and Martin O'Neill (73) put the home side in front before Ion Geolgău (80) replied.

• Jimmy Quinn (29) buried the only goal in the return fixture on 16 October 1985, Northern Ireland winning 1-0 in what was the teams' penultimate qualifier. Romania went on to beat Turkey 3-1 in Izmir but finished third behind Northern Ireland, who held England 0-0 at Wembley to make it to the final tournament in Mexico.

Form guide
• The defeat by Romania remains Northern Ireland's only Group F loss; they have won their other four games.

Northern Ireland have scored twice in each of their last three competitive home matches: a 4-2 loss to Portugal, a 2-0 win against the Faroe Islands and a 2-1 success versus Finland.

Romania have conceded only once in the European Qualifiers – in a 1-1 home draw with Hungary.

Romania are unbeaten in Group F (W4 D1), having won both of their previous away games in the section without conceding. They have not won three competitive away games in a row since UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying, when they beat Slovenia (2-1), Belarus (3-1) and Luxembourg (2-0) in succession.

Trivia and links
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis and Romania's Florin Gardoş are club-mates in England with Southampton FC.

Romania have won all five of their UEFA age-group fixtures against Northern Irish sides, scoring over three goals a game on average.

• The six meetings between the nations' clubs in UEFA competition have left the Romanian teams with the record W3 D2 L1. Those include an 11-0 victory for FC Dinamo Bucureşti against Crusaders FC in the first round of the 1973/74 European Champion Clubs' Cup.