Friday, November 24, 2017

Prediction: Denmark vs Republic of Ireland

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 10 Nov 2017

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Verdict: Denmark win and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 9/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

As both sides will be vying to get an early advantage before Tuesday’s second leg, Martin O’Neil’s Ireland side will be hoping to carry on their success at Euro 2016 as they make the trip to the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen to face a Danish side who have hit a fine run of form.

Denmark

Åge Hareide’s Denmark side will be entering Saturday’s first leg filled with confidence. After convincingly securing second spot in Group E, the Danes finished five points behind eventual group winners’ Poland. Led by Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen, Denmark are a team who have not lost a single match in their last nine contests, with their captain scoring seven in his last seven games.

During the Danes successful qualifying campaign, the men in Red were able to come away with an eye-catching 4-0 win over the Polish in September. Denmark will also be thrilled that the first leg of their play-off showdown will be held in Copenhagen. Since the end of 2015, Denmark have only lost once at home, including their 4-0 hammering of European heavyweights Poland, Denmark also came away with a draw against defending world champions Germany.

The Danish have looked in ruthless form in the final third over the last 18-months, Hareide’s side have managed to find the back of the net at least once in 13 of their last 15 matches in all competitions. After missing out on the last two major tournaments, Denmark will be desperate to gain an early advantage on Friday night.

Team News

Despite picking up a hamstring injury during Sevilla’s defeat to Barcelona, veteran defender Simon Kjaer has been passed fit to play. Although striker Nicolai Jorgensen has also been carrying a knock, the forward is expected to play some part in the game.

The Danes will also have a few notable Premier League stars in their line-up, Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will start in goal. Infront of him, Chelsea’s 21-year-old defender Andreas Christiansen will accompany Kjaer in Denmark’s defense.

Republic of Ireland

For The Republic of Ireland, Martin O’Neil’s side will be looking to repeat their World Cup play-off heroics in 2002. Placed in Group D for their qualifying campaign, Ireland faced stiff competition from the likes of Serbia, Austria and most importantly, Wales. In dramatic fashion, the Irish left their World Cup dreams alive until the very last game of the group stage.

Entering the final game in third place, one point behind the Welsh, Ireland’s James McClean’s goal was enough to secure O’Neil’s side a 1-0 win and saw them leapfrog Wales to second spot. Ireland fans will know that their side are going to have to put a resilient effort in if they want to leave Copenhagen with anything. On their travels, Ireland have only managed to win four of their last 11 away games in all competitions. This is now the fifth time that the boys in green have secured a play-off spot, but, Ireland have only managed to succeed once in those five attempts.

Away from Dublin, Ireland have been busy at both ends of the pitch. No doubt that a resurgent Danish side will be aware that Ireland have conceded in 10 of their last 13 trips on the road. However, the Irish will enter Saturday’s match with an impressive record against their hosts, unbeaten in their last four international against Denmark, Ireland have scored at least one goal in all bar two of their games since the middle of 2016, including a 1-0 win against 2006 World Cup winners Italy.

Team News

Ireland’s manager Martin O’Neil has been handed a huge boost by news that Burnley duo Stephen Ward and midfielder Jeff Hendrick have both overcome injury problems and are available for selection.

O’Neil will be unable to call upon David Meyler who is suspended for the first leg in Copenhagen. Along with Meyler, Ireland will also be without James Mcarthy, Richard Keogh and forward Jonathan Walters.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Republic of Ireland are unbeaten in their last four internationals against Denmark (W2 D2), with those wins coming in their last two contests, although both were friendlies
  • During World Cup 2018 qualifying Christian Eriksen scored eight goals and provided three assists for Denmark – scoring more goals than any other midfielder in qualifying
  • Denmark are unbeaten in their last nine matches
  • Ireland have only won four of their last 11 away games (W4, D4, L3)
  • The Danes have scored in nine of their last 10 home games

Conclusion

With Ireland’s inconsistency when traveling away from home, coupled with a Denmark side that have only lost once at home since 2015, we are expecting Martin O’Neil’s side to be in for a very tough nights work. Although we suspect the Danes will edge out their visitors on Saturday night, we do think that Ireland will be able to test the Danish defensive line and come away with at least one goal. A bet of Denmark to win and over 2.5 goals at 9/4 seems like a logical bet here.

Verdict: Denmark win and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 9/4

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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