If you know any Irish people then prepare yourself for this Saturday’s match against Belgium. If Ireland win they’ll want a celebratory pint around four o’clock. If Ireland lose they’ll want a consoling pint around four o’clock. If Ireland draw they’ll want a pint anyway. It is a Saturday afternoon after all.
It’s not just the Irish in action though. Group F is up for grabs as Portugal take on Austria and Iceland play Hungary. Our record at tipping scorer’s hasn’t been too bad so far, but we’ve yet to find the elusive treble. Damn you Harry Kane. We’ve upped the ante for Saturday though, maybe due to our Irish patriotism.
Jeff Hendrick, Belgium vs Ireland, 2pm kick off
Hendrick was one of the stars for Ireland on Monday afternoon against Sweden. The game ultimately hinged on the performances of Wes Hoolahan and Robbie Brady but most of Ireland’s attacks went through Hendrick and he was dominant in the air, winning all five aerial duels he was a part of, including one against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. That’s like winning a header against Godzilla.
All four of his shots were on target including a rasper that whacked the crossbar. While he probably won’t be allowed as much space by the Belgians, if Martin O’Neill again goes with Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy in the center, it’ll allow Hendrick to roam forward. 19 of his passes were in the Swedish half and only Hoolahan had more. He went close on Monday. He’s to get the cigar on Saturday.
Adam Szalai, Hungary vs Iceland, 5pm kick off
Hungary pulled off the surprise result of the opening round of games when they stunned everyone’s ‘dark horses’ Austria. It was Adam Szalai who opened the scoring. A clinical finish was followed by the best celebration of the tournament so far as Szalai legged it over the advertising hoardings and into the stand housing Hungary’s supporters.
Hungary used Szalai perfectly against Austria. Dropping the striker deep allowed Kritin Nemeth to follow onto the seven lay offs left by Szalai. He would hold the ball up and give his front man the chance to get into the box. Austria probably didn’t mark Szalai as a danger man – he didn’t score once for Hannover during the season, and hadn’t scored for Hungary since 2014.
Three points will ensure the unlikeliest of qualifications for Bernd Storck’s charges. It might take a while against a defensive Iceland, but we’re tipping Szalai to continue the dream and score at odds of.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal vs Austria, 8pm kick off
26 shots. One goal. Portugal were understandably frustrated as they somehow failed to beat Iceland. We saw Cristiano Ronaldo at his petulant best at full time as he stormed off the pitch. Can anyone remember the last time he actually scored a free kick? Probably against Atletico Kebab in a 17-1 drubbing. Such is the ease at which he nets in La Liga.
It’s similar when it comes to the European Championships. In 2004, he nabbed two, in 2008 he got another and then four years ago he scored three times as Portugal charged to the semi finals. Iceland defended brilliantly against Ronaldo, snuffing out any chances and blocking over half of his 10 shots. But the hype is once again focused on CR7. Some would say that’s when he performs best.
A win for Portugal against another ‘one man team’ in Austria would surely be enough to get them through to the last 16. Ronaldo always scores at the Euros. He’ll score here at odds of.
- Throw all of them together and you get a bumper 89/1 treble. That’ll be enough winnings to wax your hair as much as Ronnie.
- Our full Euro 2016 match odds are right here.