The Republic of Ireland have all but secured their place at the Euro 2012 finals, but they will want to put on a show in Dublin on Tuesday night.
After their impressive 4-0 victory over Estonia in Tallinn, only a disaster of unthinkable proportions can stop them progressing to the main event in Poland and Ukraine. Robbie Keane – who scored two goals in the first leg of the play-off – and manager Giovanni Trapattoni have warned against complacency, but the bookies have installed the Republic as strong odds-on favourites to win again on Tuesday at a best price of 4/9 (Betfred – £50 free bets) and as little at 1/1000 to qualify.
While there is plenty of room for manoeuvre in Dublin, Trapattoni has been around for too long to permit anything less than full commitment and concentration from his team. We fully expect Estonia to give it a good go, but an early goal for the home side can pop their already deflated bubble. Keane can once more cause the visitors problems and can be backed at best odds of 18/5 (Victor Chandler – £75 free betting).
With Kevin Doyle returning from suspension to be available for Tuesday’s match and John O’Shea expected to have recovered from injury, the Irish will be boosted in both attack and defence. Add to that Estonia’s suspensions to Raio Piiroja and Andrei Stepanov – who both saw red in Tallinn – and another Irish victory looks very much on the cards to get the party rocking in the Irish capital. You can back Ireland to win to nil at best odds of 11/10 (Paddy Power), which certainly looks a more tempting prospect than an Estonia victory even at relatively generous odds of 19/2 (Victor Chandler).
So expect the Republic of Ireland to ease to victory on Tuesday thereby cementing qualification for their first major tournament since the 2002 World Cup.