PREDICTION: If Northern Ireland have their strongest team out in November’s play-off decider at Windsor Park they will beat Slovakia and qualify for the Euro 2020 finals.
That means influential captain Steven Davis in the middle of the park, the versatile Stuart Dallas and his Duracell bunny-like energy inspiring all over the pitch and the colossal Jonny Evans in the heart of the defence.
Evans only played the opening 45 minutes in the 1-0 defeat away to Norway in the Nations League, when an unfortunate own goal from Dallas decided the contest, but still managed to show his class.
Erling Haaland tormented Northern Ireland at Windsor Park last month. Nothing unusual in that.
The 20-year-old has ripped defences all over Europe to shreds since he’s been a teenager with Borussia Dortmund and entered his latest match with numbers that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would be proud of - 51 goals in 48 games for club and country.
Two of those strikes came in Belfast when the visitors won 5-1 - spectacular efforts they were too.
In none of those matches did he face Jonny Evans who was absent for the September internationals. In Oslo he was up against the Leicester City centre-back and drew a blank. Coincidence? I think not.
True, Haaland missed one chance he would normally tuck away in his sleep, but overall the most sought after young footballer on the planet was kept relatively quiet.
Evans is that good and what made his 87th international appearance so impressive was that apart from playing his own game, he had to walk and talk two inexperienced players at the highest level in Daniel Ballard and Tom Flanagan through the first 45 minutes. Masterful defender we know, but he’s clearly a marvellous minder as well.
Ballard, 21, has just gone on loan from Arsenal to Blackpool while Flanagan is also in League One with Sunderland. They looked better than that with Evans between them and even after the 32-year-old left the scene at half-time, the confidence Ballard and Flanagan had gained in the first period was still intact.
Ask Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers about Evans and he will tell you the ex-Manchester United player is one of the best he has worked with.
Ask Manchester United fans about Evans and many will shake their heads thinking he should never have been allowed to leave Old Trafford.
Ask manager Ian Baraclough and Northern Ireland followers about Evans and they will say they hope and pray he is fit and ready to go when Slovakia are at Windsor on November 12 for the Euro 2020 play-off final.
Evans has grown so much as an international. He made a stunning debut way back in 2006 in the famous 3-2 victory over Spain when David Healy grabbed a hat-trick but for me he started to go to a different level in a Northern Ireland shirt during the Euro 2016 finals.
Outstanding in France as the team reached the knockout stages he has maintained those levels and at some point in the future should join Steven Davis, Pat Jennings and Aaron Hughes as Northern Ireland players with over 100 caps.
He is so crucial to the side and was the only player who started in all three matches in this international camp for Northern Ireland which kicked off with that dramatic and historic play-off semi-final penalty shoot-out success over Bosnia & Herzegovina in Sarajevo last week.
While boss Baraclough would have preferred not to lose Sunday’s Nations League tie 1-0 at home to Austria and the visit to Norway by the same score, he will be well aware that he and his players got the result that mattered.
In Oslo the shape of the side was interesting with Baraclough opting for three centre-backs. It’s unlikely he will go for that system next month in the showdown with Slovakia if Dallas, Evans, Craig Cathcart and Jamal Lewis are available.
The manager paired Conor Washington and Josh Magennis together in attack and they dovetailed well on occasions but neither could find the net, with the latter having a glorious chance to do so after a brilliant through ball from his strike partner before 20 minutes had elapsed.
That will be a concern for Baraclough. In his five games to date, only three goals have been scored through Gavin Whyte, Paddy McNair and Niall McGinn with none of his centre forwards on the mark.
Come next month whoever the new boss starts in attack is going to be a massive call. It may come down to a straight choice between Washington and Magennis with Kyle Lafferty and Liam Boyce potential substitutes late on.
Baraclough now has to wait and hope that all his players will be around for November 12. What a night that promises to be.