Two of the competitions least fancied sides clash today in Poznan and both will seethis match as their best chance to pick up points. Defeat for either would make qualification a huge ask with Italyand Spain waiting in the wings.
Croatia finished below unfashionable Greece in the qualifiers and needed a play-off against Turkey to confirm their place at the party. Ireland also took the play-off route, breezing past Estonia after finishing runners-up to Russia.
Our feeling is that Ireland have not been showna enough respect by the bookmakers with quotes of 13/5 kicking around. There’s no doubt they possess an ordinary squad but their structured system makes it very hard for opponents to score against them. They haven’t lost a game for over a year (14 matches) and boast nine clean sheets along the way. If the likes of Italy and Russia have failed to breach them, why would you be so certain Croatia will?
It all adds up to keeping Ireland on side here. The main bet should be on the 4/6 with Blue Square that Ireland win or draw this match but it’s also worth a small stake on the general 6/1 that this game has No Goalscorer. For all that Ireland don’t concede they also don’t score many goals (they’ve had four 0-0’s in the last 12 months including one with Croatia) so have a small stake on that outcome.
- Ireland are unbeaten in 13 games
- No side has scored more than one against them for 20 months
- These two sides played out a 0-0 friendly draw in August 2011