Estonia vs Republic of Ireland

November 10, 2011
By: John Hansen

Estonia have done brilliantly to reach the Euro 2012 play-offs and after beating Serbia, Slovenia and Northern Ireland to the second place in their group, they certainly stand a chance of causing an upset against Republic of Ireland. The Irish have a great chance to finally qualify for a major tournament, although they have to take these games very seriously if they are to justify the favourites’ tag.

A historic chance for Estonia

Before the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign started, Estonia were given absolutely no chance to progress from a group that also contained sides like Italy, Serbia, Slovenia and Northern Ireland. However, Tarmo Ruutli’s side started the campaign really well, beating Faroe Islands and coming really close to surprising Italy at home, but it was the 3:1 away victory over Serbia that saw the team gain wide recognition. Estonia couldn’t build on that result and picked up just one point from next four games, but away win over Slovenia and back to back triumphs over Northern Ireland saw the team clinch their play-off place. Estonia are now just one step away from achieving a historic qualification to the European Championship, but they are aware that they cannot afford to attack Ireland despite playing at home since that could come back to haunt them. The hosts are likely to adopt a cautious approach and will wait for their chance, and I am pretty sure that they would be happy to go to Ireland with a goalless draw.

Andrei Sidorenkov and Vladimir Voskoboinikov return to the side, but Sergei Zhevnov is both injured and suspended.

Second chance for Ireland

Republic of Ireland have been progressing steadily under experienced coach Giovanni Trapattoni, and after they were robbed of their place at the 2010 World Cup, the Irish were determined to make it to Euro 2012. Despite playing really well throughout the campaign, Ireland narrowly missed out on the automatic qualification, but they were drawn alongside the weakest opponent in the Euro 2012 play-offs. That certainly doesn’t mean that Giovanni Trapattoni and his men will underestimate the former Soviet republic, so we can expect another cautious approach from the Irish. That kind of tactics has produced excellent results so far, with the team conceding just one goal in five away games, so there’s no need to change anything before the Estonia game. The gaffer faces some selection problems, but the most important thing is that the back line will be at its best.

Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Keith Andrews and Keith Fahey all missed training on Tuesday, but they should be fit to play.


The stakes are high in this match for both sides, so there are no doubts we will see a very tight game. Estonia will play a waiting game and try to exploit the opponent’s mistakes, whereas Republic of Ireland never adopts attacking approach on the travels, meaning that under 2 goals looks like the best choice here.

Our prediction: Under 2 goals

Odds: 1.95 (19/20)

Bookmakers: 188BET

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