At the halfway stage of qualification for Euro 2016, an international friendly clash between Republic of Ireland and England will offer both nations a chance to judge where they stand heading forward, while presenting an opportunity for bosses Martin O’Neill and Roy Hodgson to experiment in a non-competitive environment.
Ireland, having been placed in a much tougher group alongside reigning world champions Germany, Poland and Scotland, have started to slip in international football betting to reach next summer’s European Championship showpiece in France. Bet365 now have them at 2.75 to make the finals, while it is virtually impossible to get a price on unbeaten England suffering the most dramatic of collapses to miss out.
Republic of Ireland v England Betting Tips
History dictates that there is not much to choose between these two geographical neighbours, and there is little to suggest that their latest locking of horns will be any different. The last four meetings between the two nations have ended in 1-1 draws, with the last of those played out at Wembley back in May 2013.
Ireland are, in fact, unbeaten in their last five outings against the Three Lions, with the last decisive result between the two coming at the 1988 European Championship – a looping header from Ray Houghton enough for Jack Charlton’s troops to get the better of Bobby Robson’s men in Stuttgart.
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A similar outcome could be the cards this time around, although England have negotiated their last seven friendly encounters without coming unstuck and have suffered just two defeats in their last 15 games in all competitions – with both of those coming at the 2014 World Cup.
Hodgson’s men will be fancied when they head to the Aviva Stadium on 7th June, but it would be foolish to read too much into their fine run of form. They have hardly been tested during a faultless Euro 2016 campaign, with Slovenia, Switzerland, Lithuania, Estonia and San Marino swept aside with the minimum of fuss.
If they are to start laying down a marker for an appearance at the next major UEFA tournament on the calendar, then they really need to prove themselves against tougher opposition – and Ireland, as an experienced outfit will plenty of Premier League talent within their ranks, will be no pushovers on home soil.
One interesting footnote to the fixture in Dublin will be Wayne Rooney’s ongoing efforts to become England’s all-time leading goalscorer, with the Manchester United striker currently one behind Gary Lineker and two adrift of World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton on 49. Expect him to be heavily backed to hit the top of that list before the 2014/15 international season comes to a close.
Who will win – Republic of Ireland v England Predictions
Friendly fixtures are notoriously difficult to predict because there is no knowing how the managers involved will approach the encounter, with players of promise and those on the fringes of the fold often offered an opportunity to impress. The recent spate of stalemates between the Irish and English also suggests that lumping on a score draw would be a wise approach. For anyone looking for a bit more bite for their buck, a Rooney hat-trick on an historic occasion for him may not be the most outlandish of flutters.