Republic of Ireland’s hopes of reaching Euro 2024 are fleeting to say the least, and things won’t get any easier on Friday night when they host Greece.
As things stand, Ireland will be watching on from the sidelines next summer, as they have chalked up just three points from five matches.
The return of boy wonder Evan Ferguson will be the perfect fillip for Ireland, but they may have needed divine intervention to get out of Group B, but France and Netherlands proved a bridge too far.
Greece, on the other hand, harbours ambitions of qualifying directly for the Euros, and they are hot on the heels of the Netherlands.
Indeed, Gus Poyet’s charges have netted 10 times across their five matches to date, and they will have set their sights firmly on banking the fourth win of their qualifying campaign.
Anyway, this promise to be a tasty encounter at the Aviva Stadium. To guide you through, I have given an overview of the clash and supplied a couple of tips for you to consider.
Greece to end away woes
Greece have acquitted themselves well in a tough-looking group, but what may come as a surprise, is that they haven’t beaten a top-25 ranked team since September 2016.
In the corresponding fixture against Ireland in Athens, Greece were comfortable claiming a 2-1 win, and the visitors struggled to contain the constant stem of attacks.
Ok, Ferguson’s return, as mentioned, will be warmly welcomed, and the Brighton striker has had 12 goal involvements in 27 appearances for his club, and two in three for his country.
But it seems hard to make a case for Ireland to get anything out of this game judging by their displays to date.
For my first pick, I have backed Greece to win & BTTS, which is available at an eye-watering 7/1 with William Hill.
Anastasios Bakasetas to get the ball rolling
Greek captain Anastasios Bakasetas has led his troops from the front on the pitch, and he has produced some scintillating individual displays.
Yes, the midfielder has chipped in with three goals, and his passing accuracy stands at 85% from the six games he has played.
Bakasetas is a typically all-action style of player that likes to roam forward when given the opportunity, and he’s also Greece’s chief penalty taker.
With four goals in his last eight internationals, Bakasetas’ influence can’t be underestimated. Of those four goals, three have come on the road.
I expect Bakasetas to get on the scoresheet, and to round things off, I have gone with him to open the scoring. If you fancy following up on this line, then Paddy Power has proffered odds of 8/1.