Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ireland’s Long absentee list, shouldn’t stop them in Tallinn

Ireland’s recent 2-1 success over Armenia secured a second consecutive play-off berth under the Italian Giovanni Trapattoni
Thierry Henry’s handball so infamously cost Ireland dear as they narrowly failed to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa, yet having drawn the weakest side in Estonia, the Irish go into this double header as favourites.
The recent injury to Shane Long means Ireland goes into the away leg in Tallinn with limited numbers in the striker force area. Kevin Doyle’s red card in the 2-1 win over Armenia rules the Wolves striker out of the first game and with the in-form Leon Best also ruled out, Trapattoni looks set to partner the Republic’s all time record scorer Robbie Keane with Stoke’s Jonathan Walters.
The Italian manager has an incredible record as Ireland manager and is yet to lose a competitive away game in his spell in charge. Further injuries look set to rule out John O’Shea and Darren Gibson; however I still expect Trapattoni’s impressive record to continue.
Estonia, possibly fortuitously, made the play-offs after only winning half of their 10 group games, which included four defeats. Serbia’s obvious quality was undone by their inconsistency, and the highly talented squad should’ve at least made second in a group Trapattoni’s native Italy topped.
Ireland have been good defensively of late and that’s why I am going for them to steal a first leg advantage in Estonia.

Euro 2012 play off predictions
Estonia 0 Ireland 1
Turkey 2 Croatia 1
Czech Republic 1 Montenegro 0
Bosnia 1 Portugal 1

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