Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Republic of Ireland V Poland
Sunday 29th March. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 5
The road to Euro 2016 is really kicking into overdrive and the battle doesn’t get any more ferocious than that of Group D, where no less than four times are fighting it out for those two automatic qualification spots.
Assuming that World Cup winners Germany take one, that leaves three teams fighting it out for second place and two of those competing nations will lock horns at the Aviva Stadium during an epic Sunday night showdown.
Prepare yourselves for an explosive encounter.
Home Advantage Enough For Ireland?
The Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 campaign got off to the perfect start with back-to-back wins over Georgia and Gibraltar before a dramatic equaliser from centurion John O’Shea salvaged a draw in Gelsenkirchen. However, a 1-0 loss in Scotland has left the Greens fighting for qualification. On a brighter note, three points on Sunday night could put Martin O’Neill’s men back on track to qualify for France.
With assistant manager Roy Keane also able to focus fully on international matters, the Irish have a strong chance of success. They ended 2014 with an impressive 4-1 friendly win over the United States and they’ll be looking to attack from the off once more – especially as talismanic leading scorer Robbie Keane is back in the squad.
The Ireland skipper will be supported by an equally capable supporting cast as the likes of Aiden McGeady and Shane Long will be eager to impress. At the other end, the calming influence of O’Shea should help the likes of Seamus Coleman and Paul McShane as the backline looks to nullify the threat of mercurial skipper Robert Lewandowski.
This is a tough test for Ireland but the reward for passing it is huge. With a packed crowd cheering them on, expect a passionate display in Dublin.
Can Visitors Grab Pole Position[quote_right]Lewandowski to score anytime – 11/5 at BetVictor[/quote_right]Perhaps quite surprisingly, considering their awful World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign, Poland sit top of Group D thanks largely to a shock win over Germany.
The Poles have improved massively since Adam Nawalka took over as head coach but there are still areas of weakness, which can be exploited by the hosts. Whilst Lewandowski offers genuine class, it is worth noting that the visitors are still without their other greatest talent. Jakub Blaszczykowski finally returned to club action after a year out last weekend, but hasn’t been called up for this one. Nevertheless, he could be key to Poland’s aspirations later in the campaign.
In the meantime, Poland will hope to see the likes of Sevilla’s Gregorz Krychowiak steal the show in midfield. If he and Sebastian Mila can stamp their authority on proceedings then the visitors could well extend their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Winning in Dublin would put Poland in a fantastic position, it should be a thrilling showdown.
Republic of Ireland V Poland Betting
The bookies have made the home side slight favourites for this one at odds of 7/5 (Bet365) but a price of 2/1 for Poland shows that this will not be an easy test for O’Neill’s men. Alternatively, the draw can be backed at 11/5.
Both teams will be eager to win and we hope that will spark a ferocious affair full of chances at either end. For that reason, our first selection is both teams to score.
The sides have hit a combined total of 25 goals in just eight matches this campaign and whilst those stats are influenced by the easy wins over Gibraltar, both teams have shown their ability to find the target. There’s a good chance that will happen again here.
BTTS Yes @ 11/10 with Bet365
The other bet that we quite like the look of is Robbie Keane on the anytime scorer marker.
Ireland’s experienced skipper has been the hero on multiple occasions and could be the man to drag them to Euro 2016, starting with a strike against Poland. We would advise waiting for team announcements but if he does start these odds are too good to refuse.
Robbie Keane to score anytime @ 11/5 with BetVictor