Slovakia vs Rep. of Ireland – Tough test for reeling Republic
The Republic of Ireland’s trip to Slovakia will be one of the games, perhaps more than any other, that decides whether they qualify for their first tournament since 2002.
Group B is tight, with any of the three leading teams in a position to win the group.
Ireland, Russia and Slovakia are all tied on six points from three games and can’t afford many slip ups.
Russia face Macedonia on Tuesday before a double-header against Armenia, so both Slovakia and Ireland will need to take all three points from this game if they’re going to keep pace with the Russians.
Slovakia enjoyed a great few months, famously dumping Italy out of the World Cup and taking all three points away to Russia last month, and they are marked as favourites for this game at 5/4.
They will also have a point to prove, having been brought down to earth 3-1 by minnows Armenia on Friday night.
Republic of Ireland will be hoping they can bounce back from their home defeat to Russia and are priced at 9/4 to do so.
They’re going to have to do it without Wolves striker Kevin Doyle though.
Doyle injured his knee in the defeat to Russia and it’s likely his former team mate Shane Long will step in for him.
If the Republic of Ireland are going to score, then there’s more than a good chance the goal will come from their captain.
Robbie Keane has four goals in his last five internationals and is 9/4 to score against Slovakia.
Slovakia are missing their main dangerman Robert Vittek as he recovers from a knee injury, but still have striker Stanislav Sestak 2/1 and midfield dynamo Marek Hamsik 5/2 to provide a goal threat.
There will more than likely be goals, as Ireland have scored six in their last three games and it’s been seven games since Slovakia failed to score. It’s evens for both teams to score.
Ireland are 4/7 to win Group B , See the full Euro 2012 qualifying football betting odds market here