Ireland v Kazakhstan: Hosts Keane to go out on a high
Ireland’s World Cup 2014 qualification campaign got off to a positive start with a 2-1 win in Kazakhstan, but defeats in their last three matches have ended any possibility of seeing the Boys in Green at next year’s tournament in Brazil.
However, they have an excellent opportunity to end on a high at the Aviva Stadium, and will be praying on the fitness of captain Robbie Keane, one of the goalscorers that night in Astana.
The 33-year-old, who took part in full training with the squad on Sunday, leads the Irish with five goals in this campaign, and looks a snip at 8/13 to register anytime. Given that the LA Galaxy man has scored six in his last six for the Republic, the 3/1 on him opening the scoring looks more than fair.
The Kazakhs’ sole win in Group C came at home to the Faroe Islands, and they have mustered just five strikes in their nine qualifying matches so far.
Their chances of scoring will have been damaged further by the return of Richard Dunne and John O’Shea to the Ireland side; Noel King will expect his side to keep the visitors at bay for the 90 minutes.
Ireland are 20/21 to win to nil, which looks like exceptional value given that the visitors have bagged just two in four games away from home, and could only muster one strike in their last outing in the Faroe Islands – in which the Faroes gained their sole point in the group, incidentally – where the Republic netted four times.
No side in the group has managed to keep Ireland scoreless in the campaign so far, and few would back the visitors to halt that run here.
However, those who feel that Kazakhstan are there for the taking would do well to look at their defensive record. Miroslav Beranek’s side have conceded just two goals more than Ireland in their nine matches, and have only conceded four or more to group winners Germany and away in Austria.
Consequently, Ireland appeal massively at evens to register either two or three goals in the game, a feat they achieved against both Austria and the Faroe Islands in Dublin.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing
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