Republic of Ireland Handed Winnable-Looking Playoff Tie
Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland managed to squeeze into the playoffs after their 1-0 success in Cardiff and have been rewarded with a winnable-looking tie against Denmark. Fans were desperately hoping to avoid matchups with Italy or in-form Sweden and it appears their wish has been granted. Just 180 minutes now stand between the ROI qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The former Aston Villa boss played down the fixture, saying: “Naturally, we’re just delighted to be in the draw,” before adding: “Being unseeded means it was always going to be a difficult tie,” but the general consensus is that the draw has been kind to the men in green.
Ireland are ranked 26th in the latest FIFA rankings and will face a side who are placed just seven positions above them. The Danes finished behind Poland in their group and have a number of star players including Christian Eriksen but are susceptible at the back which will give O’Neill’s side plenty of optimism ahead of the November clash.
Many of the top Irish bookmakers have reacted immediately to the draw which was held on October 17, with Ladbrokes pricing up Ireland as the 5/4 outsiders to qualify for the summer tournament.
Meanwhile, Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland have been drawn against Switzerland in a tough-looking clash. The Swiss were unlucky not to automatically qualify after being pipped to the post by Portugal and they will be hoping to bounce back at Windsor Park on Thursday, November 9. The boss stressed the importance of obtaining a clean sheet in the home leg but believes his side are “capable of going through to the finals in Russia”.
You can find details of all of the top Irish bookmakers here at BettingTop10, including William Hill, who make Northern Ireland 9/4 outsiders to qualify for the World Cup 2018.