Hungary’s impressive 2-1 triumph away to Czech Republic on Friday night made it clear that Republic of Ireland have picked a difficult opponent for their closing preparatory fixture…
Hungary picked up only two points fewer than Republic of Ireland in Euro 2012 qualifying, missing out in a tricky group which featured one of the favourites to win the competition (Holland) and the procedure’s strongest runners-up (Sweden).
But rather than be demoralised at missing out on what would have been their first tournament in 26 years – an absence that makes Ireland’s decade-long wait appear rather brisk – they have continued to sparkle, losing just once in ten.
Though their recent win in Prague was a headline grabber, it is at home where they usually produce their finest form, claiming six victories in nine and scoring 24 in the process.
That suggests that it will take something special for the visitors to justify their 6/4 favourite status, however they are even less accustomed to defeat, going a formidable 13 games unbeaten. It all points to the draw being a good bet at 23/10.
Shane Long is on a bit of a roll at the moment, scoring in West Brom final Premier League match against Arsenal then grabbing his nation’s winner off the bench against Bosnia to put pressure on Kevin Doyle for a starting berth.
With it a distinct possibility that Giovanni Trapattoni will reward last week’s efforts with a start in Hungary or at the very least a fairly lengthy cameo, odds of 7/4 on him netting at any time appeal.
Don’t expect too much goalmouth action though as only one of Ireland’s last dozen encounters have breached the 2.5 goal barrier. It is 4/6 that this one features two goals or fewer, and 11/2 that the final score is 1-1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.