Prediction & odds for the game: Serbia (8/13) v Republic of Ireland (5/1) – ST is backing the draw
When: Wednesday, 24th March @ 7.45pm K.O
Where: Crvena Zvezda Stadium
Serbia will face the Republic of Ireland this week as both begin their journey towards potential qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Serbian national team have a real point to prove moving forward after they failed to qualify for UEFA Euro 2020, with Scotland instead qualifying in their place. We’ve seen what they’re capable of in the last decade or so but for whatever reason, they just can’t seem to get out of their own way. The 2022 World Cup is still well over a year away and that could give them the time they need to regroup, even if the qualification period is going to be sped up a bit.
A few draws in the Nations League against Turkey and Hungary were sandwiched between their desperately disappointing defeat to Scotland in the playoffs. However, they did manage to end November in style with a 5-0 demolition of Russia, even if their two friendlies in January ended in 0-0 draws against Dominican Republic and Panama.
Republic of Ireland
The Irish would’ve been desperate to qualify for Euro 2020 after doing so for the 2012 and 2016 tournament but in the end, they were the masters of their own downfall against Slovakia and paid the price for missed opportunities. Now, with a squad in limbo, nobody really knows what to expect from them in the next phase of their international journey. They have a handful of impact players within their ranks but nobody knows if they can fully utilise that.
The theme of Ireland’s last six games since October? They can’t score. They drew 0-0 with Slovakia and Wales, lost to Finland and Wales and were battered by England. Oh, and in their last outing, they were held to a painfully boring 0-0 draw at home to Bulgaria.
The strange thing about the start of a new qualification campaign is that there’s always a sense of trepidation in the air. Many nations, especially those who have serious hopes of qualifying, don’t want to slip up on the first matchday. For that reason we think there’s going to be an element of frustration both in Serbia’s play and also in Ireland’s. Whether or not that manifests into some stern challenges remains to be seen, but we do think it’ll end in a draw.
Our official scoreline prediction is going to be 0-0, ensuring we stick to the under 2.5 goals bracket. That may not lead to anything exciting but who knows, maybe we’ll get a missed penalty or two to really spice things up.
Verdict: Back the away win at odds of 5/2 and the under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 4/7 (All odds are taken from bet365).
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