Having impressed to secure their place at the Euro 2016 finals, Republic of Ireland now hope to extend the bright run of results in their first warm-up match. That will be no easy task though considering that Switzerland have been pretty impressive of late, winning 9 of last 13 fixtures.
Republic of Ireland
Strong finish to the qualifying campaign helped the Irish secure the Euro 2016 play-off berth, and they did really well to pip Bosnia-Herzegovina to a place at the tournament finals. Ireland enjoyed a 3-1 aggregate win to make it to the European Championships for the second time in a row, and they now hope to prepare in the best possible way. Republic of Ireland have been pretty impressive at home of late, defeating the likes of Georgia, Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they did so without conceding a single goal in the process. Martin O’Neill continued his tradition of naming 40 players in his provisional squad, before trimming it down to 33, with uncapped Matt Doherty and Jonny Hayes keeping their places. The manager has revealed his plans to continue testing new players ahead of the Euro 2016 finals and it remains to be seen whether he will field his strongest line-up against Switzerland. The two sides have met four times in the 21st century, with the Rossocrociati winning the two games in Euro 2004 qualifiers and both 2006 World Cup qualifiers ending all squared.
Marc Wilson had been earlier ruled out through injury, whereas Jeff Hendrick and Harry Arter were forced to withdraw as well.
Jonathan Walters misses the Switzerland game, but could return against Slovakia, whereas Robbie Keane is fit to play despite missing one training session.
Switzerland national team have seriously raised its profile of late, and they are now considered one of Europe’s top sides. We can safely say that this is the golden generation of Swiss football, with the likes of Yann Sommer, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ricardo Rodriguez, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Breel Embolo either playing for or wanted by the top European sides. Oddly enough, Switzerland have been regular at major tournaments of late, missing just one of those since 2004, and they had no problems qualifying for the Euro 2016. And having been placed in the group with France, Romania and Albania, the Rossocrociati clearly have a very good chance of progressing to the next stage. The team have performed well under former Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic, with excellent comeback in a 3-2 win over Slovenia proving crucial for their campaign. Since the qualifying campaign ended, Switzerland lost to Slovakia and defeated Austria on the road, so they will now be looking for another away win.
Important midfielders Gokhan Inler and Valentin Stocker has been left out due to the lack of first team action, and they face an uphill task of making the Euro 2016 squad, while forward Josip Drmic has been ruled out of the tournament finals.
Youngsters Nico Elvedi and Shani Tarashaj received their first ever call-ups, whereas FC Basel wonderkid Breel Embolo keeps his place. Stoke City midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is rated doubtful as he battles a muscle problem.
Key Factors to Consider
- Ireland last enjoyed a win over Switzerland in 1985
- They have since failed to win any of next five meetings (D3 L2)
- Just 7 goals were scored in those five matches
- Ireland won last three home games without conceding
- Switzerland have 9 wins in last 13 fixtures
Republic of Ireland performed really well under pressure to win last three home games and book their ticket to France, but with Martin O’Neill looking to experiment, we doubt they can extend the run against very good Switzerland side. The Rossocrociati are expected to field their strongest side and they will probably do enough to secure a scoring draw.
Best Odds: 21/10
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