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Group C preview: Can Irish halt the Spanish Inquisition?

by Sean Goff | June 14, 2012
Damien Duff and John O'Shea

DO OR DIE: If Ireland fail to take a point against Spain their Euro 2012 dream is over

By Sean Goff

Group C Preview betting preview: Ireland v Spain, 7.45pm, Thursday, ITV1 and RTE 2

The Lowdown

If you thought the Spanish Inquisition sounded tough have some sympathy for Ireland who face 90 torturous minutes against Spain on Thursday night that will decide their Euro 2012 fate.

 It’s do or die time as Ireland must avoid defeat by the reigning European Championship and World Cup winners Spain in this vital Group C qualifier.

Match bet

Patriotism is one thing but thinking Ireland can rebound easily from the Croatia shambles is just plain crazy. Spain’s mobility, passing and ability to score goals justifies their long odds on price.

With Spanish manager Vicente Del Bosque’s likely to opt for a recognised stiker as the focal point for his side’s attack, Spain will press Ireland hard from the get go.

There’s no value in backing Spain at 2/7 but Spain to win both halves at 9/5 will give those who swerve betting odds-on  like Russian fans in hoodies a good run for their money.

There are a couple of chinks of light for Giovanni Trapattoni’s side though. They are at their best when forced to defend as it lends to the underdog spirit. But if Ireland go a goal down early on again they will have to come out and play AND score, it will take a performance of Moscow proportions – and more – to keep a clean sheet here.

A Correct Score stab in the dark

Ireland tired visibly against Croatia when Luka Modric began to run the show and the Croats controlled the play. Spain are likely to be in possession for long periods while the Irish put in a lively shift pressurising them. Spain to win 2-0 is 9/2 or to win by exactly two goals is 11/4.

An outrageous goalscorer bet

We have to give Ireland a look-in here. It was no surprise that if Robbie Keane wasn’t on the score-sheet then it was bound to be a central defender who got a goal from a set-piece.

Sean St Leger is 66/1 to score the first goal and 22/1 to score at anytime. Richard Dunne is 50/1 to score first and 18/1 to score at anytime.

Sergio Busquets who has complained long and loud about the dry,Gdansk pitch is 33/1 and 11/1 to do the same for Spain.

Something a bit random

Ireland famously lost to Spain on penalties in the 2002 World Cup in Japan/South Korea. Ian Hart missed a penalty in that game before Robbie Keane equalised from the spot to force extra-time. If history repeats itself Spain to score a penalty is 7/2 and to miss one is 1o/1. Ireland to net from the spot is 10/1 but to miss one is 35/1.

Robbie Fowler says

I can’t see Ireland getting anything out of this game, to be honest. If Croatia can open you up like they did, I’m sure the Spanish can too. It might be a bad night for the Irish boys.

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