ROI v Sweden: Goals for both sides in Group E opener

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The simple fact that many are labelling Group E as Euro 2016’s Group of Death means the Republic of Ireland stand a chance of qualifying from it.

With the gulf of quality that separates Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Martin O’Neill’s side far smaller than in other mini leagues in France, a positive result in the Boys in Green’s first match is vital.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Swedes are those first opponents and are favoured to get the win by Ladbrokes, who attribute odds of 7/5 to the Blue-Yellow as opposed to 12/5 about Ireland.

However, a quick check of the two rivals’ form suggests that the match-betting market isn’t the place to be betting.

Instead, 11/10 on both teams scoring appears the best play to make, with evidence from qualifying and recent friendlies appearing favourable to such an outcome.

In their 10 matches to book a spot at this summer’s tournament, excluding play offs, both Ireland and Sweden only failed to find the back of the net in one match each.

With the Swede’s boasting the prolific Ibrahimovic up top and Ireland taking a more holistic approach to goal scoring, there will certainly be two different methods of finding the onion bag on show.

However, since both sides sealed their place at Euro 2016, both teams to score has been a lucrative wager to place.

Each of Ireland’s last three outings have seen goals fly in for both teams, while Sweden have had five of their past eight assignments go the same way.

Both sides notched the last time the pair crossed paths two, with Sweden edging that particular 2013 encounter 2-1 thanks to an Anders Svensson winner.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.