Republic of Ireland vs Russia – Home record strong for hosts
The Republic of Ireland will be keen to ensure that their fine record at home in competitive fixtures will allow them to further enhance their likelihood of qualifying for Euro 2012 from Group B.
Ireland have kicked off their qualifying campaign with back-to-back victories over group minnows Armenia and Andorra, but will face a much tougher task when Russia arrive in Dublin.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s men are unbeaten at home in their last 14 competitive matches and are 17/10 to beat Russia, which would hand them nine points from nine.
A defeat for Russia, who are the group’s top seeds, would leave them with a mountain to climb as they also lost to Slovakia in their last game and they are 13/8 to take the three points in Ireland.
The two teams were also paired together during the qualifying campaign for Euro 2004, with Ireland taking just one point from the fixtures.
Ireland drew 1-1 in the home game in Dublin and a repeat is 5/1 in the correct scoreline market.
Damien Duff grabbed Ireland’s goal on that occasion, but injury has ruled him out of this year’s showdown, while Russia have been dealt a blow with the news that Roman Pavlyuchenko will also miss out with an ankle problem.
Slovakia are 8/13 to continue their 100 per cent winning start in Group B with another victory away in Armenia, but will have to do so without striker Robert Vittek.
Meanwhile, the other clash sees Andorra looking to avoid a 27th straight qualifying defeat with a home victory over Macedonia.
Andorra beat Macedonia six years ago to gain a first ever competitive victory and are 14/1 to do so again.
Macedonia also head into the game without their three most experienced players, including Inter Milan frontman Goran Pandev.
Ireland are 9/4 to win Group B, with Russia the 1/1 favourites. See the complete Group B winners betting odds market.