Ireland V Poland – Aviva Stadium at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 5
This should be a great match for Asian Handicap punters to get their teeth into as the top two from Group D go head to head in the magnificent Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday night.
Table topping Poland have had a great start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and they sit three head of Ireland on 10 points in what is shaping up to be the closest group of the lot. Scotland and World Champions Germany also have seven points but an inferior goal difference to Ireland.
The Poles started their quest for a place in France next summer by destroying the new and somewhat controversial addition to UEFA’s footballing family, Gibraltar 7-0 but then came the visit of Germany. However Adam Nawalka’s side were not overawed by their illustrious, World Cup winning neighbours and promptly sent them packing with a smash and grab 2-0 victory.
Unfortunately, since then they have been disappointing at home against both Scotland and Switzerland who were both able to claim 2-2 draws in Poland, if it weren’t for the dropped points against the Scot’s they would have had a 100% in qualifying so far.
Playing away at second place Ireland is without doubt the toughest match they have faced so far but they will be desperate to build on this promising start by claiming at least a point on Sunday night.
Both captain Robert Lewandowski and youngster Arkadiusz Milik have been in good goal scoring form, with the latter scoring in all four of his previous internationals. It is in defence where Nawalka will be most concerned, having led a charmed life against the Germans but conceding two against both Scotland and Switzerland is perhaps more indicative of their true level.
Meanwhile the Irish have had an up and down start to qualifying as well, they too started with two consecutive victories including a 7-0 win over Gibraltar (we can debate the point of UEFA allowing Gib compete at this level another day) and then stunned the slow starting Germans with a textbook smash & grab, when they nicked a 1-1 draw in Germany with a 90th minute equaliser from their first shot on target!
But then came the down swing as they lost 1-0 in Scotland, however confidence was resorted to some degree when they comfortably beat USA 4-1 in a friendly match in November. With three home wins on the spin Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane will be looking for a strong performance in front of their noisy fans this weekend.
The Irish have a hugely experienced squad with the average number of caps in their provisional 28 man squad up at 33.5 and they have seven players with over 50 caps each. Thanks to the expanded format of the European Championships next year, this group needs to take what could be their final chance to appear at an international tournament.
With the slight value edge being on the home team and their current strong home record, we will be looking for the luck of the Irish this weekend on the 0 (DNB) Asian Handicap line.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Republic of Ireland 0 (DNB) at 1.82
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