The long international break continues into this week, but at least we have the Republic of Ireland v Iceland to look forward to on Tuesday night.
After creating worldwide headlines by stunning England 2-1 at Euro 2016 last summer, Iceland make the short hop across the North Atlantic in a very good place in their footballing history.
Their journey to the quarter finals of the Euros made them every neutrals’ favourite team at the tournament and they current sit just three points off the top of the table in Group I of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Iceland even occupy the place above Ireland at 23rd in the FIFA world rankings, but they arrive in Dublin looking to achieve another first for their country and that’s to beat The Boys In Green for the first time in eight attempts.
Ahead of the contest we’ve broken the ice on top of the betting pond to dive into the market for you and we’ve come up with three top bets for the friendly. Let’s talk you through them…
It may seem like a slightly boring way to go and while we’d all love a shoot-out, the stats suggest this might just be the right value play to wager your hard earned cash on.
Under Martin O’Neill Ireland have won six of his 36 games in charge of the country by this scoreline, that’s a 1-0 win in 16.67% of the games the Derry man has stood on the sideline.
Ireland have also won two of their last four by the same result and Iceland have lost two of their last three by it – 5/1 looks like a lovely price for our boys to deliver the ‘green’ at the final whistle.
Yet to taste the international limelight, it looks as if the former Dundalk man will finally get the cap his form over the last couple of seasons has richly deserved against Iceland.
Horgan sparkled for the Lillywhites in the Europa League this campaign and memorablely left the Zenit defence for dead to net in St Petersburg. That attracted interest from across the water as he and Dundalk teammate Andy Boyle were snapped up by Simon Grayson’s Preston in January.
It’s fair to say Horgan has hit the ground running in the Championship, scoring twice and laying regular assists for his new outfit. O’Neill has signalled he’ll be given a chance to shine on Tuesday and don’t be surprised if he grabbed it with both hands to score an anytime goal at 4/1.
While being prolific at making a mark on the scoreboard for most of O’Neill time at the helm, Ireland have been a little bit more pragmatic of late.
In three of four previous outings they’ve held the opposition to 0-0 at the break and then escaped with a victory in the second stanza in two of those – against Georgia and Austria.
Iceland have also been held scoreless at the break in four of their last five, so the 11/8 on it to be 0-0 at the short whistle tonight could be money in the blank… sorry, bank tonight.
* All price correct at time of posting.