Ireland face England on Sunday in the first game between the two sides since the English fans rioted in 1995 and the match was abandoned. Luckily since then, the two teams have met at Wembley without incident and the old Lansdowne Road (which was falling down anyway, before fans started ripping seats out of it) has been replaced with the lovely new Aviva Stadium.
But has the rivalry died down to the point where Irish fans might be cheering on Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions? A bit of Paddy Power Blog investigation shows that, as ridiculous as it sounds, that might well be the case.
We asked the reporting guys to look at all the bets on Sunday’s game that have come from Irish punters, and all the bets on the game that have come from English punters. Incredibly both came back with an English majority – with exactly 50 per cent of Irish punters backing England.
The Boys in Green come into the match as 11/4 underdogs, with England priced up as 21/20 favourites, so it may simply be a case of the Irish backing with the heads rather than their hearts, but to see such a surge of betting support for the away team from Ireland is still surprising. What is less alarming is that more than two-thirds of English punters fancy their side to pick up a friendly victory, while neither nation is particularly keen to back the draw at 9/4.
Crunch Euro 2016 Qualifiers next week are likely to be the main focus for the two managers – with Ireland playing host to Scotland and England travelling to Slovenia – although this ‘warm-up’ friendly will still carry plenty of pride. If you are an Irish person and fancy your chances of winning a few quid backing England, we’d simply recommend making sure Roy Keane doesn’t find out.
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