The Republic of Ireland aim to bounce back from their opening-day 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying loss when they host minnows Luxembourg on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium.
The Boys in Green fell to a 3-2 loss against Serbia in their opening Group A fixture on Wednesday, while Luxembourg went down 1-0 to Qatar in a friendly on the same day.
As disappointing as Stephen Kenny’s side were, they’ll be confident of getting their campaign up and running against a side languishing 98th in the FIFA rankings.
On the other side, Luxembourg are the team with the unwanted distinction of participating in the most World Cup qualifiers without ever making it to the finals. They have been drawn in another daunting group that also features reigning European champions Portugal.
Republic of Ireland vs Luxembourg:
- Jack’s Army have a 100% winning record since 1950.
- They have scored two or more goals in all but one meeting so far.
- They have kept clean sheets in all but one encounter till now.
- The combined scorecard for the last two clashes at their home is 6-1, in their favor.
Six of those games have ended in defeat, seeing Ireland finish third in their UEFA Nations League group and fall short in the Euro 2020 playoff qualification rounds.
Luxembourg enjoyed a positive Nations League campaign in the autumn, winning three, drawing one and losing one of their four games against similarly-ranked nations.
This will be the sixth ever encounter between the European nations, with Ireland winning each of the previous five, the most recent of those a 2-1 Euro 88 qualifying victory.
Ireland have lost just once at home since 2018, and the last they conceded more than one goal at home was back in 2017, against Denmark.
On the other hand, their counterparts were winless in 16 of their preceding 19 overall matches, and they had also lost 12 of their past 16 fixtures. They have won just four times on the road in the past five-year period.
It would not be overstating it to label this a must-win game for Republic of Ireland, who are without a win in 10 games, nine of those under Kenny.
Ireland put up a good fight in their defeat against Serbia and a similar performance at the weekend should help them see off the visitors.
Luxembourg enjoyed a positive Nations League campaign and will be looking to nick a point in Dublin, but we are backing the hosts to pick up a maiden Group A victory.
Our Prediction: Republic of Ireland to win @ 1.44