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Euro 2012 Betting Tips

News and Betting Tips from Euro 2012

skybet.com

 

The Play-offs for Euro 2012 see The Republic of Ireland paired with Estonia, with the first leg to be played in Tallinn this Friday.

Ireland enter both the first leg, and the tie as a whole, as favourites to progress to the finals of a European Championship for the first time since 1988, when they were eliminated in the first round.

The Republic of Ireland advance to the Play-offs after a second place finish behind Russia in Group B, where they lost just one game (at home to Russia) and had the second best defensive record. In fact Trapattoni’s men have conceded just one goal in their last 861 minutes of International Football and are unbeaten in 9 games in all competitions. At the other end goals have come chiefly from all time top scorer Robbie Keane with 5; with Kevin Doyle and Aiden McGeady each contributing two apiece.  Whilst impressive in getting to this stage, Ireland’s record historically in play-offs is patchy: they were denied at this stage of qualifying for Euro 2000 (lost to Turkey) and Euro 96 (lost to The Netherlands), as well as memorably against France in qualifying for The World Cup 2010, largely thanks to a Thierry Henry handball. Their record against opponents Estonia gives cause for optimism though – the teams have faced each other twice, and Ireland have won both games 2-0.

As for Estonia, this represents a chance for them to qualify for a major international tournament for the first time in their history, no mean feat for a country with far less than 2 million inhabitants who only gained independence from The Soviet Union in 1991. Estonia finished 2nd in Group C, behind Italy but ahead of much fancied Serbia (from whom they took four points, including a 3-1 away win in Belgrade) and World Cup 2010 participants Slovenia.  However whilst at times impressive, Estonia lost to The Faroe Islands and at home to Slovenia, as well as twice to Group winners Italy, conceding twice as many goals as Ireland in the same number of matches. Their form at home was also unconvincing, with just two victories from five matches at the A. Le Coq Arena. The lion’s share of Estonia’s 15 goals in qualifying came from midfielder Constantin Vassillijev who chipped in with five, and will be a player to watch for Ireland over both play-off legs. When Estonia score, they tend to avoid defeat: the last time Estonia scored and were beaten was over a year ago in a 2-1 defeat to Italy. They also do not draw many matches, with none of their last nine games ending in a stalemate. Of those nine games however, Estonia have won just three, indicating that their form going into this play-off is not as hot as one might expect.

Overall The Republic of Ireland must be expected to progress from what will undoubtedly be a tricky two-legged tie. Having home advantage in the second game may well play a part, and Ireland’s excellent defensive record implies their opponents will struggle to break them down, whilst Estonia’s goals against column and recent form does not inspire the same confidence in their back line. However Estonia have come this far against all odds, they have some talented players in their ranks, and if they can take a slender lead or even a 0-0 draw to Dublin for the second leg, who knows what could happen?

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