Republic of Ireland Face Acid Test Against Switzerland Tonight
Last night, England bounced back from their 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic on Friday evening to record a thumping 6-0 win against Bulgaria in Sofia, against the backdrop of some awful racist abuse from Bulgarian thugs aimed at England’s black players in particular.
The fallout from that will continue for many weeks to come, but the focus will be back on football matters tonight in the final set of Euro 2020 qualifiers in this international break and the big game tonight comes in Group D in what has become a must-win game for Switzerland and one which, if the Republcic of Ireland can avoid defeat to the Swiss, would see them take a big step towards qualification. Indeed, a rare away win would confirm Mick McCarthy’s team as qualified.
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Let’s now take a look ahead to the game tonight and give you our tips on how it will likely turn out.
Switzerland v Republic of Ireland
Group D Standings
- Ireland – 12 points
- Denmark – 12 points
- Switzerland* – 8 points
- Georgia – 5 points
- Gibraltar* – 0 points
*Teams marked with an asterisk have played five games, not six.
Group D Results – Matchday 7
- Denmark 1-0 Switzerland
- Georgia 0-0 Republic of Ireland
Group D Remaining Fixtures
Matchday 8 – 15th October
- Switzerland v Republic of Ireland
- Gibraltar v Georgia
Matchday 9 – 15th November
- Denmark v Gibraltar
- Switzerland v Georgia
Matchday 10 – 18th November
- Gibraltar v Switzerland
- Republic of Ireland v Denmark
If Ireland manage to beat Switzerland tonight, then they will take one of the qualifying spots in Group D and Denmark will qualify if they win one of their final two games in the group.
If Switzerland win they will go one point behind Denmark and Ireland, with two games left to play against the two weakest teams in the group. If they win both those games too, then they would qualify from the group as Ireland and Denmark must play each other in the final round of fixtures.
If Denmark win their final two games, they will qualify from the group.
There are many more permutations for two of the three teams above qualifying depending on how results go.
Georgia and Gibraltar are eliminated from qualifying.
Republic of Ireland
The Irish have built their success so far in the group on the back of a resolute defence that has conceded just two goals in their six games so far. However goalscoring has been a real problem for the Irish as they have netted just six goals so far in the campaign, ten fewer than Denmark and four fewer than the Swiss who have played a game less than Mick McCarthy’s team.
Sheffield United striker David McGoldrick has not regained fitness ahead of tonight’s game in Geneva and so he will miss out for Ireland with Luton’s James Collins likely to deputise for him in attack. Aaron Conolly is likely to start from the bench, while Callum Robinson may be another option for McCarthy in attack.
Other than that Ireland are likely to pick a very similar team to that which earned a 0-0 draw away to Georgia on Saturday.
Possible Rep of Ireland team – Randolph, Coleman, Docherty, Egan, Duffy, Whelan, Hourihane, Hendrick, Robinson, McClean, Collins
After their late defeat to Denmark on Saturday, the fifth time the Swiss have conceded a late goal in this qualifying campaign, manager Vladimir Petkovic could make a couple of changes for this game. Ex-Arsenal full back Stephan Lichtsteiner may be dropped to the bench with the impressive Kevin Mbabu coming in at full back, while the form of Remo Freuler has him making strong claims for a place on the bench.
Late goals have hurt the Swiss a great deal during the qualifiers and although they are already assured of a playoff place if required, they would like to get qualification sorted at the first attempt through the group.
Shaqiri’s continuing absence is a big blow to the team and his creativity is missed but even so, this is is a strong and well-balanced side that will make life tough for the Irish tonight.
Possible Switzerland team – Sommer, Elvedi, Mbabu, Schar, Akanji, Zakaria, Xhaka, Rodriguez, Mehmedi, Seferovic, Embolo
Switzerland v Republic of Ireland Tips
Looking at the games involving these two teams and Denmark in the group, it seems that a draw would be the obvious call here (16/5 with bet365 Sport), but something tells me that with so much at stake for both teams, that this is perhaps the most unlikely of the three outcomes possible in this game.
The defeat to Denmark on Saturday now has the Swiss up against it and while they do have a game in hand, they are four points adrift of Ireland and Denmark. The fact that their two rivals must play each other in the final set of fixtures is their saving grace but a win here would be a huge step forward for the Swiss’s qualifying hopes.
Ireland will know that they need something from this game too. Denmark at home is a very tricky fixture for them and they don’t have the best recent record against the Danes. Two losses in these two games could leave the Irish on the brink of missing out and as such, I think they’ll sit back and hope to hit Switzerland on the break.
However, I feel Switzerland will win this game (11/20) and them to do so by a 1-0 scoreline is a 4/1 shot with bet365.