BETTING & MATCH PREVIEW
On Thursday night, the Republic of Ireland host Portugal at the Aviva Stadium, in what could be a crucial qualifier in Group A of World Cup qualifying.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Stephen Kenny’s team heads into this clash on the back of a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Included in that decent run of form is a three-game unbeaten streak in Group A, as the home team has drawn two and won one of their last three qualifiers.
Despite the recent improvement in qualifying results, the home team are unable to qualify for Qatar 2022, as they are nine points adrift of Thursday’s opponents, who occupy second place in the group and a play-off spot.
A 3-0 win over Azerbaijan in their last qualifier ended a run of seven games without a win in World Cup qualifying for Ireland.
The Selecao may be second in the group, but they head into this clash a point behind leaders Serbia with a game in hand on their qualification rivals.
Fernando Santos’ team has won five of their six games in Group A. The only game they have failed to win in the current qualifying campaign was in Serbia, in a game that ended 2-2. A 5-0 win over Luxembourg last time in qualifying means that Portugal are unbeaten in 15 World Cup qualifiers, having recorded 14 wins in the process.
The visitors are unbeaten in seven away qualifiers, recording six wins. They have also been prolific in front of goal, scoring at least two goals in six of their previous seven qualifying matches away from home.
Ireland have no reported injury issues and welcome back Alan Browne and Jayson Molumby from suspension. Portugal are without the suspended Nuno Mendes. Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo is likely to fill in for the PSG star.
Ireland’s results may have improved of late, but Portugal have quality within their ranks and we predict that Ronaldo and co. will record a relatively comfortable win.
PREDICTION – AWAY WIN
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Odds correct at time of publication – please check with your bookmaker before placing a bet as fluctuations can occur.