We preview Tuesday’s Euro 2020 qualifiers, with struggling Ireland set for another awkward night and Malta ready to reward their card backers.
Ireland looked very ordinary in their 1-0 win in Gibraltar on Saturday, continuing a theme they set during the autumn’s Nations League campaign. They scored one goal in their four games, suffering relegation from League B.
In contrast, Georgia racked up five wins in League D. Admittedly they came against some pretty weak opposition but gave a decent account of themselves in the weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Switzerland and won’t be pushovers in Dublin.
The odds give them the respect they deserve so it is to the goals markets it is worth turning to. Under 1.5 at 17/10 look fair enough given Ireland’s recent issues in front of the target.
In a market which awards one point for a yellow card and two for a red, Malta have hit the three mark in 13 of their last 17 competitive matches, including all seven this season.
In contrast, Spain have only made it to two in four of their last 13 competitive games.
Scottish ref Andrew Dallas likes a card – he’s averaging over five a game domestically before you even consider reds – but history also shows he’s likely to punish the less talented side.
All four cards he produced in San Marino v Norway in the World Cup qualifiers were to the underdogs, while other notable class gulfs in recent times have produced the following card counts from Dallas: Celtic 0-3 Airdrie, PSV v Osijek 1-3, Rangers v Peterhead 0-5.
Bosnia went unbeaten and conceded only one goal during their Nations League campaign in the autumn, one which resulted in them being promoted to the top tier.
Meanwhile, Greece lost in Finland and Hungary (and at home to Estonia) and remain stuck in League C. They scored only four goals in their six games.
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