Republic of Ireland play host to Switzerland on Friday looking to extend their unbeaten home run against Switzerland, who have been enjoying a positive run of form most recently themselves.
Republic of Ireland have lost only one of their last ten matches, with their positive run going all the way back to 2014. Martin O’Neill’s men have had a fantastic qualifying stretch en route to France and it was thanks to their strong finish that Ireland managed to book the ticket to Euro 2016. Having finished third in group D, losing 2-1 to Poland in the last round of the qualifications, Republic of Ireland were forced to go through the play-off round. O’Neill’s charges mustered enough strength to see of resilient Bosnia and Herzegovina in a 3-1 aggregate win which got them their French visa. Republic of Ireland have been rather difficult to beat in Dublin and they are currently enjoying a nine-match unbeaten run on home soil. Most notable result was definitely their 1-0 win over world champions Germany and Martin O’Neill’s men are confident they will be able to extend the fine run against Switzerland as well.
Stoke City defender Marc Wilson has been ruled out with injury, while Norwich winger Robbie Brady is struggling with a minor neck injury, but should be available for selection.
Switzerland on the rise
The Swiss have been making steady progress over the last couple of years and are currently boasting a well-organised quality squad filled with high-profile names. Switzerland had no problems booking their place for Euro 2016 as they finished second in group, behind England, but in front of Slovenia, with seven wins and three defeats during the qualifying process. Only two defeats in their last thirteen matches speaks volumes of the Swiss ability and there is no doubt that Vladimir Petkovic’s men are not to be taken lightly during the summer showpiece in France. Former Lazio manager gave first call-ups to Borussia Monchengladbach’s defender Nico Elvedi and Everton forward Shani Tarashaj, who could be involved against Republic Of Ireland. On the other side, Switzerland will be without their captain Gokhan Inler for the first time in last ten years as former Napoli man haven’t had much playing time for Leicester City this season.
Josip Drmic has been ruled out with injury, while Xherdan Shaqiri is a doubt following his muscle scare. Valentin Stocker has been another surprising omission for the Swiss.
Republic of Ireland will be hoping to extend their positive home run and will rely on the support from the stands as the team continues to ride the wave of optimism following the positive qualifying stint. Switzerland are by no means underdogs in this fixture and I believe we should be in for a highly amusing match.
Top pick: Both teams to score – yes 2.05 (21/20) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 2.38 (11/8) @Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Draw 3.1 (21/20) @Bet365