Aviva Stadium - World Cup Qualifying
The Republic of Ireland can claim top spot in Group D with a win on Tuesday, although it’ll be tough against Serbia. Martin O’Neill’s side boast home advantage, as they look to tighten their grip on a place at next year’s World Cup.
Ireland are yet to beat Serbia in four attempts, losing one and drawing three against the Eagles. They did however claim an important 2-2 draw in Belgrade in the opening game of this qualifying campaign. Daryl Murphy rescued a point for Ireland that day, after Jeff Hendrick had put them ahead in the opening minutes of the game.
The most important thing for O’Neill and Roy Keane is to get some energy back into Irish legs after a lacklustre performance at the weekend. Aiden McGeady could be given a start after looking lively when he replaced Harry Arter on Saturday, with the Bournemouth man fighting to retain his place. Hendrick could also make a return after missing the game in Georgia.
Serbia secured a comfortable 3-0 win against Moldova at the weekend, and there are plenty of familiar faces expected to start at the Aviva on Tuesday. Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksander Kolarov, Dusan Tadic and Aleksander Mitrovic have lots of Premier League experience between them, and should all feature.
Ireland v Serbia Preview and Predictions
After such a promising start to their qualifying campaign, Ireland have now drawn their last three Group D games. Getting back to winning ways against leaders Serbia would be a massive result for the Boys in Green, and would give them huge belief going into their final two fixtures.
It was a disappointing result for Ireland on Saturday, as they were held to a draw in Georgia after taking an early lead. Although it was a slick move that led to the hosts’ goal, O’Neill will be disappointed with the way his side sat back after going in front, and only claimed 26% of the possession.
Despite the setback, there’s still plenty of hope for Ireland. If they beat Serbia and then Moldova at home, they’ll go into their final game against Wales in Cardiff top of Group D. The bookmakers are struggling to call Tuesday’s game, and have Ireland as slight underdogs at 2/1.
At 9/5, the visitors are hardly red-hot favourites. A win for Serbia though would all but secure them at least a place in the playoffs. A draw wouldn’t be the worst result for Slavoljub Muslin’s side, keeping them top going into the final two games. If you think the game will end with honours even, it’s 28/13 in the betting.
Ireland to win 1-0 at 7/1
Back the Boys in Green to get a narrow win and really make things exciting in Group D as it reaches its climax.
2nd half to be highest scoring at 13/10
With so much at stake, the first half’s likely to be a cagey affair as the two teams feel each other out.