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NI will begin their World Cup mission in Parma



Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough

Northern Ireland's World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign will begin in Parma.

Ian Baraclough's squad were handed an away trip to Roberto Mancini's Italy after December's World Cup draw - and it's been confirmed the game will be played in the northern city.

The Ennio Tardini Stadium, commonly referred to as Il Tardini, will stage the game.

Built in 1923, the ground is among the oldest still in use in Italian football and is the home of Serie A outfit Parma.

The match against the Azzurri is set to be played on Thursday, March 25 before a home clash against Bulgaria at Windsor Park on Wednesday, March 31.

Given the ongoing pandemic, it's unlikely Northern Ireland fans will be allowed to attend the fixture.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Manchester United goalkeeper Jacob Carney has signed for Danske Bank Premiership side Portadown on loan until the end of the season.

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He made his Under-23 debut for United in January 2020 and has had loan spells at non-league sides Stockbridge Park Steels and Brighouse Town.

Ports boss Matthew Tipton said: "We have felt that we wanted to strengthen the goalkeeper department and through my connections with Alan Fettis at Manchester United we were offered Jacob.

"After watching his videos we had no hesitation in taking him in. Jacob has had experience playing in the rough and tumble of non-league in England which was a massive positive for us.

"I must place on record my thanks to all at Manchester United for helping this move go through so smoothly."

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