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Listen, I’m as big a cynic as the next man – but if you can’t see improvement in this Ireland side, you need to remove yourself from all your WhatsApp groups for the sake of your friends and family. The 3-5-2 was implemented very late in the day, you’ve got an 11-year-old in nets who hadn’t played in months and Dusan Tadic has more astro pitches in his back garden than our glorious nation has between Killarney and Donabate.
But thankfully for those who doubt, we’ve got a handy one against Luxembourg followed by a five-month break from competitive action for everyone to forget their baseless criticisms again.
Ireland v Luxembourg – World Cup Qualifier
Saturday March 27 – 7.45pm
RTE2/ Sky Sports Main Event
Ireland put in their best performance since Sweden in the Euros against Serbia and while you can certainly argue that it was still a defeat, the fact remains that we tried to play in the right areas and created a few chances. With stability and time, there’ll be scope to improve.
And for everything else, there’s Luxembourg. Now, that might seem like a gift-wrapped package for Kenny enthusiasts, but it’s also a ticking time bomb because if we’re not ahead by half-time, the sacking requests will come thick and fast on Twitter. This shouldn’t be this nerve-racking, surely?
Listen, if we’re *just* sub-1/2 to beat Luxembourg at home, that means we’d be pushing even money to beat them on the road and I look forward to that day of punting.
Focusing on the here and now – I understand the overriding sense of doom around Irish football at the moment, but we’ve just scored twice against Serbia, put in a very constructive performance and Luxembourg, for all their tax haven status could rival ours – they’re bleedin’ useless.
I’d put it this way: you’ll be so angry if this leg lets you down that there’ll be far bigger issues in your football-loving life that are annoying you.
Haha, you probably thought this was going to be easy didn’t you?
Well, guess again. You’ve been given some hope that you can type angrily @ the FAI at full-time because we’ve yet to break down the defensive rear-guard of a nation that has more letters in their name than competitive wins.
But ultimately all that anger you’ve built up because you’re having stew for dinner again will have to be spent elsewhere, my friend.
It’s not that I’m not backing Ireland to score goals – they will, but given how the game will likely go and the hunch I have that they’ll keep a clean sheet, it would be counterproductive to back the overs wouldn’t it?
Given that we believe he’ll go 3-5-2 again and that’s the main shape going forward, that gives us two strikers. Aaron Connolly is out and you’d suspect that goalscorer Collins will be drafted in.
And his physical presence up top should be the focal point of Ireland’s moves in central areas.
Ireland v Luxembourg tips
A Paddy Power Bet Builder of the above four bets clocks in at around 17/1
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Bet Builder Acca Insurance
If one leg of your 4+ fold Bet Builder lets you down, you get up to £/€10 back as a free bet. Customers can qualify for 1 Bet Builder Acca Insurance per day up to £/€10. The free bets will be credited by 12pm the following day.
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