Republic of Ireland and Denmark both know that a win will secure their place in UEFA Euro 2020 as they prepare to meet in the qualifiers next week.
The Republic are starting to rise up once again under Mick McCarthy, to the point where their loveable underdog status has turned into some viewing them as dark horses. That might be a little bit over the top based on the actual quality of their squad, but still, it’s fun to see there being a bit of excitement within the Irish camp once again. They know what they have to do in this game in order to get themselves on the plane to Euro 2020, and on a one-off occasion such as this, they should be feeling pretty confident.
There’s been a certain degree of inconsistency from the Republic of Ireland in their last six, with two of their wins in that period both coming in friendlies – against Bulgaria and New Zealand. Their only other win in that period of time came against Gibraltar, with draws against Switzerland and Georgia leaving a lot to be desired. In their reverse fixture against the Swiss, they were comfortably beaten 2-0.
The Danes are a well oiled unit at this level and they are capable of beating pretty much anyone around the continent. While they probably aren’t going to be contenders to win Euro 2020 itself they should certainly view qualification as a minimum requirement, mainly because they’ve already done most of the leg work. They have a lot of experience against the Republic of Ireland, to the point where most would consider anything other than a win a bit of a failure.
Denmark have been pretty flawless since June, with their only slip-up being a 0-0 draw against Georgia. Aside from that they’e had two 6-0 wins over Gibraltar, a 5-1 battering of Georgia at home, a convincing 4-0 win over Luxembourg and a narrow yet vital 1-0 success against group rivals Switzerland.
This was always going to be a tough game to call but when push comes to shove, we think Denmark are just about going to have enough to hold off Ireland, forcing them into the playoffs in the process. The hosts are going to pour forward from the first minute until the very last, and while we imagine they’ll get on the scoresheet, actually going on to win the game will be a whole other matter. It’s going to be physical, but that’s exactly the sort of recipe we need for an entertaining clash of styles.
Due to the stakes attached to this game we simply don’t think it’s feasible for there to be too many goals, which is why we’re backing the under 3.5 market.
Verdict: Back the draw at odds of 23/10 and the under 3.5 goals scored at odds of 2/7. (All odds are taken from bet365).