The inaugural Carling Nations Cup has gone right down to the wire, with Republic of Ireland and Scotland tied on six points heading into their finale in Dublin on Sunday evening…
By overcoming Wales and Northern Ireland by aggregate scores of 8-0 and 6-1 respectively, Republic of Ireland and Scotland have illustrated that the gap in quality between the neighbouring nations is far bigger than many suspected.
These two are quite possibly the closest matched in the entire tournament and have it all to play for in the finale with the destination of the trophy still to be decided.
The hosts’ superior goal difference means that a point against Craig Levein’s 100 per cent record holders is all they require, however after destroying Northern Ireland 5-0 on Tuesday, they have to be fancied to take all three at 5/6.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s side have won all three of their collisions against fellow Europeans in 2011 and will be determined to maintain that run ahead of their tricky Euro 2012 qualifying trip to Macedonia next month.
They also have a favourable record against the Tartan Army, winning two of their last three meetings and losing just once in six, though if you fancy Scotland to turn things around at the Aviva Stadium, they can be backed at 11/4.
After striking twice against Northern Ireland, Boys in Green captain Robbie Keane has now netted 48 times for his country, a tally leaving him just one goal shy of the regional record of 49 set by England legend Bobby Charlton.
Having been confirmed as a starter for this clash, the out-of-favour Tottenham striker will view this is an ideal opportunity to at least pull level with the Manchester United great and is 9/2 to open the scoring.
A £30 stake on Republic of Ireland winning 2-0 at 7/1 would provide a profit of £210. New customers can sign up here for a free £30 bet.