European minnows Gibraltar host Ireland in a UEFA EURO 2020 qualification group D match this Saturday, kicking off at 6:00pm local time. The two teams are in the group that also contains Switzerland, Georgia and Denmark.

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Home Team: Gibraltar

Gibraltar have been a national team since 1993, but only applied for full membership to UEFA in 2013. They were accepted, and were involved in the qualifying stages for European Championship 2016, and the World Cup in 2018. In all 20 matches of qualifying, Gibraltar have yet to win or even draw a game, losing 20 on the bounce. They have only scored 5 goals in those 20 matches, and have the unfortunate record of being the worst team in qualifying history. However, in the UEFA Nations League, they were able to win their first ever match in Armenia, via a 1-0 score line.

That encouraged them to win their next match against Liechtenstein, who they beat 2-1. Those two scores were historical moments for the small island, as they didn’t finish bottom of their group. Previously, their only success on the international stage were in the ‘Island Games’, when they won the 2007 edition beating Rhodes 4-0 in the final. Gibraltar are huge underdogs in this fixture, but they can build on their performances in the UEFA Nations League, and try to put in competitive displays.

Away Team: Republic of Ireland

Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, despite coming very close. After an impressive run in the European Championships in 2016, where they had lost to hosts France, many were expecting Ireland to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2002. However, in their play-off against Denmark, they were beaten badly at home in a 5-1 thrashing. In the UEFA Nations League last autumn, they were embarrassed in their group, losing home and away to Wales, but picked up two 0-0 draws against Denmark.

However, despite being good results, the Irish team only managed 6 shots against Denmark in 180 minutes, whereas the Danes had registered over 40. Ireland’s bland brand of football, scoring just one goal in that competition, and finishing last had eventually got manager Martin O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane sacked. Now, Mick McCarthy is the new manager, having previously managed the country back before, leading them to the World Cup in 2002. Ireland will hope to play more attractive football, and will hope they score many goals in this encounter.

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Head to Head

In Gibraltar’s short history as a national team, they have faced Ireland twice when qualifying for the European Championships back in 2016. Ireland won both games comprehensively, winning 7-0 at home, and 4-0 away. Gibraltar will hope to reduce the scoring for this opening group match.

Predictions and Betting Tips Gibraltar vs Republic of Ireland

Ireland are overwhelming favourites at 1/25 to get the three points here, with Gibraltar at 28/1 to get their first every qualification victory. The odds of a draw are priced at 12/1. It’s not a question of ‘if?’, for Ireland, but a question of ‘How many?’. I believe this match will be the tougher than the teams previous meetings 4 years ago, but I still expect Ireland to get a resounding victory.

bet now betting on footballI’d back a 3-0 victory for Ireland at 9/2, but to really boost your odds, predict any thumping win for Ireland including both teams scoring. For example, a 4-1 win for Ireland is at 16/1, or a 5-1 win is at 22/1. Finally, it’s easy to bet on Ireland to score many goals, but if you are brave, its actually worth considering betting on there to be fewer goals in the match, so my final tip would be to back there to be less than 2.5 goals at 3/1.

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