The Republic of Ireland begin their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign on Saturday night (5.00pm) with an away match against the potentially weakest team in Group D, Gibraltar.
New manager Mick McCarthy will certainly be looking to make a winning start, as qualification from a group containing both Denmark and Switzerland isn’t going to be easy for an Irish team that recently finished bottom of Group B4 in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.
Check out our stats, analysis, and free tips for Gibraltar vs Republic of Ireland.
Gibraltar Home Form
Getting beaten is a regular occurrence for Gibraltar and you can have 50/1+ about a Gibraltar win and even double-figure prices about them drawing with the Republic Of Ireland.
They kicked-off last year with a 1-0 home win over Latvia and also secured a second home victory over Liechtenstein later in the year. There other two home games resulted in a 2-0 defeat by Macedonia, whilst fans witnessed a 6-2 mauling by Armenia the last time Gibraltar played at home.
Republic Of Ireland Away Form
The Republic of Ireland have put up some spirited performances away from home recently against much better teams than Gibraltar. They held Denmark to a 0-0 draw, even though they still finished bottom of their Nations League group which also consisted of a Wales side that beat Ireland 4-1.
Before that, Ireland also limited the damage against France and Turkey to just two goals and one goal, respectively.
Gibraltar vs Republic Of Ireland Head-To-Heads
Gibraltar and the Republic of Ireland have played each other twice before, with both of those games coming in the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Ireland were ruthless at home in a game in which they beat Gibraltar 7-0 with a hat-trick from Robbie Keane, two goals McClean, one from Hoolahan, and an own goal.
Keane also scored two goals when Ireland beat Gibraltar in the reverse fixture with Christie and Long bagging a goal each.
Republic Of Ireland Team News
Shane Long misses the match due to injury, but Mick McCarthy will still be confident that his team can make a winning start.
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Darren Randolph has been in fine form this season and he’ll be hoping to add another clean sheet to the 16 he’s already kept in the Championship.
Captain Seamus Coleman should also be capable of organising his defence against a Gibraltar attack that has left to offer than his likely fellow defenders Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh, and Enda Stevens face on a regular basis in the English League.
The midfield is expected to be a combination of Matt Doherty, Jef Kendrick, Harry Arter, and James McLean, all of whom should enjoy a little more time on the ball than they are used to.
Sean Maguire and Dave McGoldrick are expected to start up front and it will be interesting to see if either or both of them can get on the scoresheet.
Gibraltar vs Republic Of Ireland
It will be a major shock if the Republic of Ireland don’t win this match and they’re only quoted at around 4/11 to win the match to nil.
However, despite winning 4-0 last time they played in Gibraltar, after winning 7-0 at home, they no longer have the services of a top-flight striker like Robbie Keane to bang in the goals against inferior opposition. Indeed, they haven’t scored four goals against any team since that 4-0 win back in September 2015.
Admittedly, Armenia beat Gibraltar 6-2 in Gibraltar’s last home game but Ireland have been quite defensive of late and that may continue under McCarthy. That’s why odds-against for less than 3.5 goals could be the value bet.