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Ireland v Gibraltar: Preview

Gibraltar take on Republic of Ireland tonight in the second part of their June double-header, looking to build upon their performances so far in Group D.

Photo © William Gracia

After losing 1-0 at home to tonight’s opponents in March, Gib followed it up with a 3-0 loss away in Georgia on Friday night, and will no doubt be aiming to try and improve on the performance in Tbilisi, where they mustered one shot all game – albeit one that came inches from levelling the scores at the time.

Ahead of the game, Gibraltar are believed to have a fully fit squad to choose from – Louie Annesley did limp off near the end last week but the young Blackburn defender is expected to be fit tonight. The match will also be the last time Anthony Bardon will be involved in the matchday squad – the 26-year old is retiring after tonight’s game to focus on coaching in the USA. The former Lincoln midfielder is likely to add a 29th and final cap at the AVIVA Stadium tonight, either by starting in midfield or appearing as a sub.

Tonight’s hosts find themselves top of Group D with seven points in three games, and picked up an impressive 1-1 draw away at Denmark last week. Mick McCarthy’s side will no doubt be looking to improve on their performance when the two sides met in March at the Victoria Stadium, as Ireland look to end the season in a strong position in the five-team group.

The two teams last met in Dublin in 2014, where Ireland ran out 7-0 winners in what was arguably one of Gib’s worst team performances – of the eleven who started that game, only four are expected to also start this evening, and tonight could be a good chance to show how far the national team has come in that five year period.

Betting*:

Unsurprisingly Ireland are as short as 1/100 to win tonight, and there’s no value in the match result market unless you fancy a draw (31/1) or a Gib win (105/1).

If you want to back Ireland but don’t fancy 1/100 odds, then the “win to nil” market for Ireland to win and not concede is potentially more appealing at odds of 3/10. Jeff Hendrick scored in the reverse fixture back in March and is 6/4 to do the same again this evening.

From a Gib perspective, Liam Walker came closest to scoring from a free kick, and his set-piece prowess is known to be a threat for Ireland – the Europa midfielder is 20/1 to score in 90 minutes tonight.

FG’s Predicted XI:

Goldwin; Sergeant, J. Chipolina, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Annesley; Casciaro, Bardon, Hernandez, Walker; De Barr

*Odds correct at the time of writing, and taken from Oddschecker

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