At the start of a qualification campaign which pitted them against Euro 2008 semi-finalists Russia and World Cup group winners Slovakia, few pundits would have given minnows Armenia any chance of qualifying for Euro 2012.
But with just two games to go they stand a realistic chance of at least claiming one of the eight runners-up spots and a two-legged playoff to qualify for Poland and Ukraine next summer.
They lie third in Group B on 14 points, so bwin’s odds of 40/1 for them to top the group and automatically reach next year’s championships are worth considering.
Should Armenia manage to win their final games and other results help them reach their first ever major tournament finals, new customers using the £25 free bet they receive when signing up to bwin would win £1,025.
Current leaders Russia are 7/25 to finish top and have 17 points, with Ireland, who host Armenia in the final game, second on 15 points and priced at 3/1.
Before their visit to the Aviva Stadium, the Lernakanner face a home game against fifth-placed Macedonia, where they’re 3/5 favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with the away win priced at 9/2 and the draw available at 14/5.
The fifth seeds’ campaign started with controversy as they were forced to move out of Group A, which also featured Azerbaijan, because of their territorial dispute.
After being placed in Group B, Vardan Minasyan’s side have gone on to enjoy their best-ever qualifying campaign for a major tournament.
Their success has been built on strong defence, having conceded one goal or less in 75% of their games, including 3-1 and 4-0 wins against Slovakia that give them the edge in tie-breakers should the teams finish level.
As such, 7/5 for Armenia to win to nil looks a good option, but with Gevorg Ghazaryan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Yura Movsisyan each scoring four times in qualifying, 7/4 for Armenia to win with more than 2.5 combined goals seems the way to go.
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